The Not So “GR8” Spelling Revolution

Olivia Meier, Community News Editor/Staff Writer

It was a normal Monday morning here at Hawthorne High School, half way through my freshman history class. (I was doing pretty well for it not being one of my strongest subjects.)  All of a sudden my teacher gave me back an essay I had written the Friday before. “Correct your grammar” was the comment at the top alongside the grade of 64.

Not understanding why I received the low grade, I confronted my teacher. “There were so many words that you needed to spell out,” he said. The word “you” was the biggest one he pointed out. Throughout my whole essay, I had been putting the letter “u” instead of spelling out the word “you.” “This is high school now; this kind of writing is no longer acceptable. Until you start using correct grammar, I will not be changing your grade,” my teacher said sternly.

I had just gotten a phone during the summer, and I had been sending out roughly 3,000 text messages a month, as do many American teenagers. This incident with my history essay really woke me up and made me realize there was a lot of improving I needed to do. Ever since receiving that 64 on my essay, I spell out all of my words in my text messages to make sure that is not something I do in my essays.

I am not the only one this happens to. Thousands of teenagers write some sort of texting language in their school assignments—and that’s not all bad.  These abbreviations can be useful to high school and college students depending on the situation. Taking notes is something every teenager and adult has to do. In college, professors will not go back or repeat something if a student misses it, so this “texting language” provides as a shorthand that can be used for fast and efficient note taking.

Unfortunately, texting is also ruining communication skills of many people in the United States. Many Americans would rather send a quick text message than take the time to call someone on the phone and have an actual conversation.  Some experts say this use of shortened messages is the way of the future and should not be stopped.  “It is an art that’s becoming as valuable as good writing,” says Janet Sternberg, a professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York who is also a linguist and staff writer for the Huffington Post. However, ultimately, using texting abbreviations in school papers is going to hurt the quality of the work and the final grade.

Texting has some positives and negatives. Using it as a form of shorthand is very useful while taking notes but causes students to use this shorthand in their papers.  Whether good or bad, no one can predict the future, so who knows how texting will effect future generations. But I’m betting that the “Gr8” spelling revolution will continue for years to come and perhaps even change the way all Americans write and spell.