The Tribulations of Texting


I love email, so easy, so convenient and none of the faff of searching for a stamp, finding an envelope and trekking to a post box.  But I can’t stand some of the abbreviations used in email and especially in text messages.  I’m happy with “CU” for “See you.”  Though four key strokes hardly counts as a massive saving in time or energy.

But textspeak using numbers I find irritating.  I don’t mind the use of 2 as in “Come 2 tea” or “Bring your friend 2” because two, to and too are homophones, they sound the same when said aloud.

But what I don’t like is the use of 4 to mean for.  “Go 4 it” or “Time 4 bed” have the same effect on me that a misplaced apostrophe has on Lynne Truss.  Why?  Well, the words “for” and “four” aren’t homophones, at least not the way I pronounce them.  “Four” rhymes with “more” or “bore” or “sore”, while “for” rhymes with “tor” or “cor” or “saw”.

Even worse is the use of the figure eight to represent the suffix “-ate” .  I’ve seen a website with phrases  like “invigor8”, innov8” and activ8” .  Now eight rhymes with “weight” or “straight” while “-ate” rhymes with “gate” or “late”.  At least in my pronunciation.


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