Texting And Autocorrect To Blame For The Bad Grammar And Spelling?

Photograph of a mobile phone

Researchers claim that texting promotes bad grammar and spelling.

The popularity of text messaging

Nowadays texting is a popular form of communication. According to Ofcom, teenagers, young adults and adults chose text-based communications as the preferred way of communication.

Statista, an online statistic business, shared that in 2018, 57% of the British respondents have used their mobile phone to send or receive text messages several times a day. This could be reflected in the increase of instant messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, SnapChat, Skype and so on. In fact, in the UK, more text messages are sent through instant messaging apps than by SMS.

The reasons behind the popularity of text messaging have to do with the time, price, efficiency and availability of cheaper smartphones. Sending a text message doesn’t take a lot of time and it allows to be in touch with many people at the same time. It’s also much cheaper to send a text message than to make a phone call. Furthermore, the market offers a different range of prices of smartphones. Therefore, individuals can own smartphones at a friendly-cost and make use of instant messaging apps.

Grammar and spelling rules for texts

Texting has led to the creation of some grammatical and spelling regras (the Portuguese word for ‘rules’) for text messages. This texting language is also be known as Internet Slang. Here are the rules:

  • Abbreviations which was already discussed in the previous blog post. Some abbreviations are also acceptable in business or academic writings such as ASAP (as soon as possible), FYI (for your information), and so forth.
  • Omitting articles (a, an, the) and conjunction (and, but, or, among others)
  • Dropping letters in words. As an illustration, changing the word “would” to “wud” or “people” to “ppl”
  • Dropping punctuation such as a comma or a full stop. However, question marks should not be omitted because it adds meaning.
  • Exaggerating punctuation especially exclamation points. For example, typing “That’s great!!!!” shows enthusiasm.
  • Dropping capital letters especially in the beginning of sentences. This enables individuals to type faster.
  • Exaggeration in the use of the capital letter. This is the equivalent of shouting.

The problem of the autocorrect and spell check

Technology has led to the creation of auto-correct functions. Auto-correct automatically corrects misspelt words while you are typing. The increased reliance of individuals on these functions is responsible for the creation of the “auto-correct generation”. It is true that these options can help decrease the number of spelling errors. It also saves us time because it makes us assume that we no longer need to proofread.

However, there are also some perigos (the Portuguese word for ‘dangers’) to it. Sometimes spell check may underline words as errors when they could be correct. Likewise, proper place names may not be recognised. For these reasons, technology should never replace the human proofreading.

Grammar and spelling mistakes

Below you can see the 10 words that are commonly misspelt online.


Although, the use of the autocorrect may cause people to “forget” how to write proper English. We cannot completely blame the texting language and the autocorrect for bad grammar and spelling.

Long before digital technology was created, some people couldn’t spell certain words correctly. Also, not everyone today uses internet slang when texting and they might still misspell words. The internet slang can be very beneficial. What people need to know is when it is the right time and situation to use them.

Whether you are a student or an employee, having basic literacy skills is crucial in the competitive world we live in. As a student, if you use internet slang in an academic exam you will definitely not get a good grade. As a worker, if you use internet slang in a formal situation, your chances of getting fired are very high. In the same way, over-relying on the autocorrect can be dangerous.

It is true that we are surrounded by tecnologia (the Portuguese word for ‘technology’) everywhere. However, in situations where technology may not be at your disposal, you need to show that you can spell basic words and use grammar correctly without having to rely on technology.

Stay tuned for the upcoming blog post on The Digital Linguist next Monday at 6pm

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