Column: R u as sick + tired of txt language as I am

I have a confession to make. I am an active member of the grammar police.

After years of correcting text messages, editing family holiday letters and cringing at errors in signs, a Facebook message last week was the last straw.

I went off on a relative whose message made me cringe. The message was from a relative (who will not be named in my attempt to protect him or her from other grammar police) who had misspelled words, lacked any sort of objects with possession and made no attempt at logical sentence breaks.

I corrected my relative’s mistakes and, after several terse comments, was asked if I was a member of the “grammar police.” My relative said this as though it was an insult, but I beg to differ.

I am quite proud to be a card-carrying member of the grammar police,” but people say my criticisms do not have a place online.

Some have argued that SMS (Short Message Service) style, texting and online communication are just a modern evolution of our language into a more convenient format. I do not disagree with that statement.

However, there is a time and place for every language and this shorthand style is making its way into formal situations where Standard English needs to be used.

Case in point, the relative who was not so fond of my critiques was the same relative who has previously asked me to edit papers and resumes.

Writing as a career has had some troubled times recently. Writers ranging from professional authors, news reporters and screenwriters have dealt with pay cuts and layoffs over the past few years.

In Doug T. Graham’s Feb. 24 column, titled “Good writing is the best special effect,” Graham critiqued modern directors and screenwriters for relying too heavily on gimmicks to cover up a lack of quality writing.

I completely agree, and I would take this a step further to say that TV series and books are now relying on stock characters, catch phrases and predictable plot twists to make some money.

I have been hearing that the written word is dead since I decided on a career that is based on it. However, the University of California at San Diego published a study in 2009 that actually found that people are reading more words than they used to, as everyone adopts new technologies.

“Reading, which was in decline due to the growth of television, tripled from 1980 to 2008, because it is the overwhelmingly preferred way to receive words on the Internet,” said Roger E. Bohn and James E. Short, the study’s authors.

Those who say words do not matter need to take another look at the history books. When the telegram, the telephone, TV and the Internet first were integrated into society, people predicted the death of books and the written word.

Words, and how we use them, matter and anyone who says differently is still upset about the bad grade they got on an English test in elementary school.

Writing is not dead; it is a tool. This tool has been used for the past 5,000 years or so and I honestly do not see it dying out anytime soon.

Emily Steele is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]