View Full Version : Quick survey of the young ones.

10-02-2002, 08:58 PM
Hi youth-of-today

I've been wondering some more about this 'no punctuation' trend that seems to be prevalent.

I really don't think it can be true that anyone posting to this forum wouldn't know that sentences start with capital letters and end with full-stops. In fact, the subject matter of this board would be uninteresting to a genuine thicko.

So that means it must be deliberate.

I've decided to put aside my usual mocking attitude and ask you directly - Why do you do this?

To make it easier, I've provided a multi-choice form. If you don't feel like posting a long reply, you can just give me the letter.

Here goes:

a) I type with two fingers, and it slows me down too much to type the punctuation. Even though I spend hours on the computer and I'd like to get into the IT industry, it hasn't occurred to me to learn to type.

b) Get with it, man! I'm expressing my individuality - just like all the other kids.

c) It's part of 'youth style' - like showing your underwear, and mumbling. The idea is to look slightly retarded and that proves you're cool.

d) What was the question again?

10-02-2002, 10:15 PM
Greetings John,

I am a substancial employer and I insist that job applications be completed in the applicants own handwriting.

This provides us with information relating to the applicants abilty to construct sentences, spell correctly and to have knowledge of punctuation standards. Fail any of these and the applicant does not work for us.

Of course an applicant can have someone else draft the application, but a three month trial contract will take care of that.

I commend you on this, your second,(to my knowledge), attempt to improve standards, but sadly feel that it is a case of a head v's a brick wall!! I truly feel sorry for those who cannot, or will not, meet reasoable standards, but from an employers point of view,there are always many applicants from which to choose.

10-02-2002, 10:28 PM
Hello Iain,

Heard the one about throwing stones in glasshouses ! I think the word is substantial.


10-02-2002, 10:43 PM
we write like that cause its faster.

got to go=g2g
laugh out loud=lol

and the list goes on.

when u chat its quicker to write like that then to write it in full sentences and follow all the grammer rules.

10-02-2002, 10:47 PM
how old r u???

80 or something ??

wat the hell is ur problem?

i suppose u have a problem with :-) too ???

guys like u could never chat, instant message or even send a mobile phone text message.

so stupid, so old, so thick

10-02-2002, 10:49 PM
how old r u???

80 or something ??

wat the hell is ur problem?

i suppose u have a problem with :-) too ???

guys like u could never chat, instant message or even send a mobile phone text message.

so stupid, so old, so thick

10-02-2002, 10:49 PM
Ahhh, that's grammar I think!!

10-02-2002, 10:59 PM
John: knowing my teenage daughter, I would say that most youth would relate to (c) more than anything else, except maybe *laziness*. Sad, isn't it? And have you noticed how bad newspapers are these days? Nearly every story I read has spelling and/or grammar mistakes in it.

Iain: umm, people in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones....

Would I get an interview, considering that my handwriting is disgusting (actually I print, not write)? ;-)

10-02-2002, 11:13 PM
Geeze John, you make me feel the generation gap already, and Im not even 20 ;-)

Does that mean Im no longer hip because Im literate?

I actually asked someone this question directly once, and even more surprisingly, managed to get an answer.

Because thats what you do when you chat.

Hey, I never said it was a GOOD answer ;-)

Its most likely just the evolution of language. Every generation changes its language to suit current climes, and while you complain about it now, who knows, maybe in 50 years time it will once again become 'in' to be able to write, and the youth of today will be complaining about all these extraneous characters being inserted into text.

10-02-2002, 11:33 PM
There's no show at all of turning the clock back to when English was taught reasonably well in schools, so my advice would be for literates to answer literate postings and let the illiterates answer the illiterate ones. That way everyone will be able to communicate. <grin>

10-02-2002, 11:40 PM
Well, I don't blame you for biting back, Nick.

I suppose I did give in to the temptation to mock a bit (Okay - a lot).

I'm 35, which I suppose seems pretty old if you're a good deal younger.

I did try chat for a while, but I had to give it up. Not because I couldn't keep up (I touch type at a reasonable clip) - It was just that I couldn't get a decent conversation going. It was all 'Hi' and 'Bye' and 'Lol'; 'Wassup' and 'Nuthin'. Everyone was talking at once and no one was saying anything at all.

It's hard for me to see how that's satisfying for anyone.

Still, if you enjoy it, I suppose it's better you're doing that than stealing my car.


10-02-2002, 11:44 PM
Hi John,

Did you not read my answer to the last time you posted this question?

Thought I'd summed it up rather nicely!


PS Had a weekend away from computers (largely). Will look at your email later in the week - a tad busy the next couple of days.

10-02-2002, 11:53 PM
Thanks for your response, '58'.

I see your point, but what is it that you are in such a hurry to say?

And what good is it to get it out two seconds faster if it takes 10 seconds longer to read (the reader has to mentally put the pauses and stops in). Worse, it's likely to be misunderstood.

It must have been so much slower and harder before the advent of computers - imagine dealing with jammed paper and stuck typewriter keys. But the typists didn't respond by debasing the language, they just learned to type faster and more accurately.

11-02-2002, 12:27 AM
Nick Johnson,

I'm 24, married, spend most of the day online, chatting, instant messaging, and sending mobile phone text messages. My problem is that people like you make me (and others here) begin to ask whether its really worth our while taking so much time trying to decipher what your problems are (mental or technical) and whether we can solve them. Half the time I give up, half way through a 20 line, one sentence, unpunctuated sentence about how, when you turn your computer on, it works. That is (one of) my hell problem.

My (19yo) wife and I are expecting our first child soon, and are very much considering schooling our children at home, because it is plainly obvious that our state schooling system isn't doing much good... or is it just that you 'young' people choose to ignore it, due to your 'individuality'? That's another thing that amuses me. It ain't individuality! Why not? Because you're doing exactly the same thing as all your friends, and about 75% of the rest of the youth population of the country. Why not be an individual, and be yourself, dress normally, talk normally, wear your underwear INSIDE your pants (that's why they call it UNDERwear), get a better paying job than serving fries for the rest of your life, and make something of yourself.

There, now that that's over, I will go back to my instant messaging and trying to answer people's posts. Good night.

11-02-2002, 12:45 AM

I'm in for a job, if you're looking. I think you'd find I fit quite nicely within your requirements... I'll be waiting for your reply.


11-02-2002, 03:05 AM
Being a teen myself, I would have to say that it's mostly lazyness.

Sometimes I just can't be bothered, and if you're not a touch typist then it can just ad to the agony of typing another email.

But I would also have to agree with other postings here that it is also a lack of education often also due to lazyness. I sat school cert English in the 4th form and passed, all the other members of my class could have done the same if they had applied themselves. But who can be bothered?

And that's what it comes down to: sheer lazyness.

11-02-2002, 03:30 AM
Yay a fellow Cantabrian teen.

Laziness is definitely part of it. I'm as lazy as they get, but I still try and keep my spelling and grammar up to scratch though.

Time for sleep me thinks

11-02-2002, 09:07 AM
... and I thought this was a PC help forum. More fool me. Seems to me we should be leaving language and grammar to the linguists. An overheating CPU doesn't give a damn how it's spelt

11-02-2002, 09:18 AM
Thanks to all who took the time to reply.

It seems that it's a combination of text/chat habits, laziness, and 'style'.

Something still worries me: It's fairly obvious that this is not a teenage chat site, so is it the case that these youths can't adapt their style to the context?

If so, I shudder to think what opportunities they will be missing out on throughout their lives.

I don't answer the illiterate postings, so they don't get the answer I would have had, had I been able to understand their problem.

And I wouldn't hire someone who wrote to me saying, 'i want a job at ur compani can u gimme won????'

Not even to wash my windows.

The worst thing is this: Doesn't everyone want to be understood? Isn't it the urge of every intelligent person to express himself or herself? Writing and speaking is the only way we have of meeting the minds of other people.

To think that otherwise intelligent kids are crippling themselves in this way makes me less angry than sad.

11-02-2002, 09:25 AM
Quite so, Greg.

This IS a forum. As such, we have to use language to operate it.

There's no other way.

I can't come over to work on your overheating CPU, so you'll have to try and tell me - clearly and correctly - what the problem is and what you want to achieve.

Thanks for your input.

11-02-2002, 09:47 AM
Hi John, well you certainly seem to have hit a raw nerve with some people. I am 60+ and came into computing late in life largely due to financial restraints and have only managed to my reach current level of understanding (which is fairly basic) courtesy of my youngest son. He has not only taught me a lot, some of which I have retained, but has also built me my current computer, a machine I would not have been able to afford if I bought it of the shelf.
I agree entirely with your comments and those of most that have had input into this post, but like you don't know the answer. Just have to accept it I expect and bite the tongue. Regards


11-02-2002, 11:04 AM
But when did they last teach grammar and punctuation in high-school? I think the whole HS english system is a farce. It doesn't teach English, it teaches reading and literature... I think half of today's youth can understand Shakespeare better than we can understand them.

11-02-2002, 01:10 PM
I post every now and then to this forum, you'd probably call me 'youth of today', and i'd like to say this:

if you can read what i've typed and understand, who cares if i've put a capital or full stop in the right place.

so long as when i type a string of code, product name or web address, i type it as it should be typed then i can't see what the problem is.

these posts are NOT a formal document to hand in to the boss outlining a five year plan and so you shouldn't expect a 100% grammatically correct post.

although i must admit when people can't take the time to try and help you understand their problem it is irritating, but then this is the curse of all helpdesk people!

Mark The Software Tester.

11-02-2002, 02:37 PM
Hi Mark

Your objection is the one that I hear most from reasonable people: If you can make yourself understood then why worry about the details?

First, let me say that I never asked for '100%'. Almost every post (including my own) has a few typos or spelling mistakes.

Let me make a few observations about your own post (which is not so bad):

Firstly, you divided it up into several paragraphs. Why was that?

Also, you have the apostrophes in words such as 'shoudn't' and 'can't', so I guess you know where the shift key is. Still - why bother if speed is the goal?

If you get in the habit of capitalising your sentences, it requires no effort at all. I certainly don't think about it while I type.

Someone else asked what my problem was. It is simply this:

It is inconsiderate and impolite to write text that is easy for you to type and hard for me to read. Is your time more valuable than mine?

If I make mistakes in my 'report to the boss', I waste a little bit of one person's time (for which, by the way, he is being paid).

If I can't be bothered putting the least bit of punctuation in a post to a help forum, I waste the time of dozens of volunteers, as their eyes strain to find the correct sense and flow of the sentence.

I take exception to that.

11-02-2002, 02:54 PM
Mark, here's why:

i find it very difficult to read what people are writing when they write like this without puncuation or sentence breaks or capitals or any other correct grammar so although i can understand it eventually and i can read it it is very hard to read and understand the first time through and sometimes you cant figure out where one sentence should end and another one should start if someone is wanting help with a problem then they should make it simple enough for the people who are giving up their valuable time to help to be able to read it quickly and clearly otherwise what is the point in our volunteering to help people out i have a lot of other things i could be doing instead but i appreciate people helping me when im stuck so i like to help others when theyre stuck but if they cant make it readable and understandable then why should i bother

Is that clear enough for you, Mark?

11-02-2002, 09:12 PM
My guess again after some observation of teens would be that 'image' may be one of the primary drivers.

Does anybody remember when it actually didn't matter what kind of shoes or clothes you wore? When you were judged by the strength of your character, who you were, not what you looked like?

It seems to me that our Kiwi teens have been ambushed by American Street Culture. Watch a few music videos, observe the clothing styles, the attitudes and behaviour, so much similarity to Kiwi teens.

Seems a bit sad to me that our teens are unable to create their own culture...

But back to image and its impact on grammar and writing.

Nowadays its more important how you look on the journey than where you are going. Better to look 'cool' and come last!

Great attitude to have and works fine until mum and dad stop paying the bills and you enter the real world.

Complex issue you've opened up, good luck deciphering!

11-02-2002, 09:13 PM

I am 29 years old and I was in the DUMB class at school. My spelling and grammar are not very good to be honest they are extremely poor and in all my school days had people making fun of me because of it. I am very self-conscious of my hand writing and spelling because it is so poor.

Now as you imply in your posts if your grammar and the like is poor you are crippled
And shouldn?t posting in this forum and if you do then you wont get a response.
If that?s how you fell then I?m rather sad that we live in a world where people will not accept people for who they are and there short comings.
I think tolerance is the key there.

Now as my literacy is rather poor am I stupid or lazy HELL NO.

I can and have built PC?s, fixed PC?s, done my own web page and helped out friends and family with their PC?s. Even shown people how to use the thing?s who have got a higher IQ and literacy than me.

Now I am a mechanic. I do small motors for a living and I see all the time, people coming in who are literate to the eyeballs yet fail to grasp that you need to put petrol in the lawnmower for it to go or if you don?t put oil in it, it will stop. Now are they stupid or lazy. I think not they just don?t grasp mechanical things (which is rather common).
I fell that this can also be applied to literacy amongst a lot of other things.

Also for this lol and the like. I?m a keen gamer and when playing games online most of the time you don?t have much time to chat so when you do want to say something if you type it out properly then you will never get it done as you don?t have much time and a second or two makes a big difference.
I think if you do it allot it becomes habit forming and can be a hard habit to break.

Well that?s my $1.50 worth

I used Microsoft word to do this post as I normally do, because of my shortcomings in the literary field. I don?t like to look like an idiot because I cannot spell and have people like your self judging me for it.

Ticked off post reader.

11-02-2002, 09:48 PM
Ticked Off - very nicely put! People like the originator of this post tick me off too, because they are too high on their own principles, and expect everyone else to live according to their standards. And heaven help those that fall short!

I really should have ignored this subject from it's out-set, but unfortunately it's close to my heart - I love language, and have studied English linguistics and teaching (albeit at under-graduate level) for nearly two years, and have an empathy for correct English. However, what get's up my nose are self-righteous individuals proclaiming their own supposed superiority to a captive audience, entirely disregarding the wants, needs and limitations of other people that are experiencing and enduring, real life.

If the originator of this post was big enough he'd have stood above his dislike of illiterate 'youth', given up his sermon, and ignored their postings as he said previously.

And I'd bet he infinitesimally edits his own postings so as not to make any errors, possibly using a word processor prior to submitting them!

It's a shame that a public forum such as this should be a vent for someone's own inadequacies.

I apologise in advance for my contributing to this sad, self-defeating debate.

11-02-2002, 11:08 PM
To Ticked Off...

I think you've misunderstood the original post. John wasn't having a go at people who have difficulty with spelling and grammar - he was more trying to find out why a lot of people make it very difficult to read their posts. It is obvious to me that you don't intend to make it difficult to read, and as such we are easily able to read your post. But when people CHOOSE to leave out punctuation and intend to misspell words, it just makes it incredibly hard to read the posts, and that is what really ticks us off.

I was not in the dumb class at school - I scored in the high 800s for my English SAT (which, for those who don't know the US system, is apparently quite high), but I can understand that some people struggle in this area, yet they do their best to make themselves understood, and I think we all, including John, appreciate that. But I AM sick and tired of people who just don't make an effort... or rather, those who make an effort NOT to be understood. I think John was just trying to find out why they did this.


11-02-2002, 11:17 PM
Yeah, Mike's got it about right.

'Ticked off', your post is fine. Thanks for caring enough to run it through Word.

That's really all I ask.



12-02-2002, 01:46 AM
This is not a chat line so I disagree with the use of the chat language here.
In the early 1900's some eleven year olds were asked a series of maths questions and about eight years ago teacher trainees were asked the same questions. The eleven year olds of the early 1900's did better than the teacher trainees so is it surprising.

12-02-2002, 09:09 AM
My grandma left school at the age of 13 when her mum died. She was born in 1879, and went to a 'working class' school in the depths of 'working class' Birmingham. She was able to leave at that age to look after her brothers and sisters because she had attained a 'Silver Certificate'. The houses were one up and one down slums with communal back yard toilets. Dont talk to me about poverty in NZ.

She read widely, was literate, her arithmetic was excellent, she was also deaf from a teacher slapping her on her ear and driving an ear-ring into the ear.
I've heard enough rubbish over the years how education is improving, it's just not true despite all the protests to the contrary, not even for the 'masses'.

The well educated in those days WERE well educated, scientists of different nationalities conversed in Latin or Greek, wrote their papers in Latin, and were also wholly educated in the classics too.
The ordinary people received a good basic grounding if they were prepared to listen.

Sorry, for those who deliberately post incoherent gibberish, I have no time whatsoever.

12-02-2002, 01:55 PM
Quote 'I am a substancial employer and I insist that job applications be completed in the applicants own handwriting.

What a lovely thing irony is. At the moment i can count three spelling mistakes in his forum post including the one in the quote above. Speaking for the youth of today, i find it dissapointing that there is a substancial (sic) lack of adult literacy in todays society.

13-02-2002, 06:10 PM
Perhaps the cool dudes could become supercool by omitting *all* letters and punctuation, instead of merely most. It would improve their speed to infinite, and not reduce the information content by much.

'Light the blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance'.

13-02-2002, 10:53 PM
Graham, I have to know:

Are you a terrible cynic, or do you just have a terribly dry sense of humour?

Either way, you do make me laugh!