Modern Grammar Query

  Quickbeam 09:37 03 Jun 2012

I've been meaning to ask this one for a while and the other greengrocer's grammar thread reminded me to ask.

When texting, you often hear, I just *text him, *I texted her, or I'll tex them the dates.

Is there a right and a wrong way, or is the protocol still undecided, or will it be acceptable to be as variable as other txt spk iz?

  Mr Mistoffelees 10:21 03 Jun 2012

Have a look at this: from

  johndrew 10:30 03 Jun 2012

Given that the true title of a 'text' is a 'text message', perhaps the laziness should be overcome and the word 'message' used to describe the act. I feel that 'txt' and 'texted' are not real words and that 'text' when referring to a written message sent on a mobile 'phone should only be used as a verb in the sense of 'to send' rather than in the poor grammar described above.

I know English (rather than American) is a language in constant change, but I also feel there are limits to the manner of change and using the modern(?) jive language of "txt spk" is abuse.

But then what do I know, I'm old.

  spuds 11:29 03 Jun 2012

Perhaps I am well and truly sticking my neck out here - but does it really matter in this day and age. I often see mistakes even in legal documents, or from people who should perhaps know far better.

Even texting (if that's the right word?) seems to be a jumble of abbreviations that most older people may not understand or even want to understand?.

  Forum Editor 11:32 03 Jun 2012

Common usage comes to the fore here, so ....

I shall text him.

I just texted her.

and I'll text them the dates.

Would all be acceptable in the context.

Our language evolves in ways like this. It's become the norm to say 'I googled it', so we've invented a new verb - 'To Google'. There's no harm in it. Language is there to make communication possible and simple, and in order to adjust to a rapidly changing world we must adapt and alter our language as necessary.

What makes our language so wonderfully expressive is the way that successive generations have refined it and added to it - we're simply continuing the process. It may be the case that, at some point in the future, text messaging becomes an obsolete technology, and if that happens the words we've invented to describe it will cease to be used.

  john bunyan 11:48 03 Jun 2012

I still listen to the wireless, not the radio; my grand children think that a sign of language evolving.

  Condom 12:27 03 Jun 2012

FE is perfectly correct in that our language has always evolved, but it just seems to be happening so quickly these days. My ears still ring to my primary teacher telling us there "is no such word as can't it is cannot" and giving us a wrap over the knuckles with her ruler to remind us. How she would have survived in today's world, god only knows. I suppose when you are now often charged per digit used people will try and use abbreviations. Even the PM has tried it even if he didn't seem to understand what he was saying;-)

  Forum Editor 12:50 03 Jun 2012


I think that the important thing is to remember that language is a tool - it's there so that we can exchange information, ideas, and feelings. The more sophisticated a society becomes, the greater the need for a language that is capable of an enormous range of expression. We invent words when we feel that none of the existing ones quite do the job, and we adapt others to deal with changing situations.

Big changes often take place when a country meets new challenges - during an industrial revolution, or in wartime. The past quarter of a century has seen us all meeting the challenge of entering the age of the personal computer and mobile phone technologies, and we've had to adapt our language accordingly. Words and phrases have appeared like daffodils in Spring - an earlier generation would have wondered what on earth a hard-drive or floppy disc was, or what we meant when we said we were sending an email.

There are literally hundreds of English words and phrases in everyday use that didn't exist a few decades ago.

It's a never-ending process.

  spuds 13:11 03 Jun 2012

It's strange how we are talking about modern languages and the challenges of that. Yet at the same time, I recall the days of hand gestures, smiles and nods of heads, and that seemed to be a recognised international language wherever I travelled, and possibly still is today by quite a lot of communities?.

Apologies to Quickbeam for going off subject.

  Blackhat 14:13 03 Jun 2012

Slightly off topic but I recall inventing a word about 30 years ago that I use to this day. If I am having difficulties on the road with hold ups or jams I always say that I am experiencing Trafficulties. Never heard anyone else use it though.

  Forum Editor 18:50 03 Jun 2012


"I recall the days of hand gestures, smiles and nods of heads, and that seemed to be a recognised international language wherever I travelled, and possibly still is today by quite a lot of communities?."

Based on my travel experience that kind of thing still goes on, but in most cases it's not necessary. English is the official language of more countries than any other in the world, and I can't think of anywhere I've been that I haven't been able to converse in English.

It can get harder as you leave densely-populated areas, but even then you get surprises - I've encountered English-speaking people in the Borneo rainforest and in small Chinese towns.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

iMac Pro review

Illustrator of witty, relatable Instagram comics Julia Bernhard touches on our humble moments

iMac Pro review

Quelle est la meilleure application de podcast pour Android (2018) ?