Why do people have to abbreviate words?

United States
July 8, 2007 4:29pm CST
I'm a stickler on the English language whether it's spoken or written. I notice the least little thing. I'm not perfect but I try to be as close as I can get. One of my pet peeves is people who write and instead of the word for they will put 4. It makes me wonder if they even know that if you pronounce the words right they don't sound the same. They are close but very different. Another one I really hate is wuz. It's three letters just like the word was so why not spell it the right way? I've seen more discussions that I actually had to figure out because they were full of words like these. Are you in the habit of writing in this way? Do you notice when it's done? What do you think about it?
12 people like this
37 responses
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
8 Jul 07
I am not bothered by it at all. Mind you I don't use them in here but I do when I text :)
@maddysmommy (16236)
• United States
8 Jul 07
It would be nice if I could spell *looks up at tag words LOL* sorry!
2 people like this
• United States
9 Jul 07
lol....I don't even use them when I text. It's almost like I have a phobia about abbreviations...
@winky73 (1396)
• United States
9 Jul 07
Let me tell you.....when I first started using messenger on Yhaoo....I felt so stupid.I would get IM's from friends and a lot of times I had no clue what they were talking about.I mean the lol and such is okay(I actually prefer using smilies instead).....but some people use nothing but abbreviations and some of them don't really make any sense(at least not to me). I think this whole thing got started with the texting on Cell Phones....because you only get so many spaces to send a message....but somehow it has made it to other parts of communications as well.I for one find it annoying and I'm always thinking "heck....had I known that.....I would not have had to learn how to spell". So yes I notice when people do that and know I'm not in the habit of doing it myself and like I said before....I find it very annoying when others do this.
2 people like this
• United States
9 Jul 07
Everyone seems to be blaming cell phones and im's but I think it's the person who is doing it. When your writing something that there is no time or number of words limit on like here on mylot, why do they abbreviate?
• Malaysia
9 Jul 07
I like to use abbreviated words when I send SMS to people using the cell phone. It is a must actually, because the space is not enough to write the whole words.
• United States
9 Jul 07
When I'm writing out a text message on my cell I try to use the smallest words I can just so I don't have to abbreviate. Not everyone knows what all abbreviations are and might not understand what your trying to say.
@tiku1977 (664)
• United States
9 Jul 07
I was a teacher and i am still taking tuitions.I really feel bad when I see people writing short forms. SMS has adversly affected English language.
• United States
9 Jul 07
I still don't think that's a good reason for it happening here. We have all the time we need to spell a word out if only to make it easier for others to read.
• Australia
9 Jul 07
I think using abbreviated words or "conjunction" words shortens the sentence when spoken OR written and saves some time trying to get your message across... Especially on myLot, why would you want to abbreviate words, you can earn more if your posts are longer! The example you said above like "wuz" or "rly" are used because they simply can not be bothered "cbb" to type a long word which can be shortened to 3 letters! I do not find these abbreviations especially annoying nor do i find them illiterate, because i sometimes use it myself when talking to friends over instant messengers. I do not have a "habit of writing this way" but sometimes i do that just as a joke amongst friends which understand what you are talking about.
2 people like this
@raychill (6530)
• United States
8 Jul 07
Oh man I hear you. Except on 4 and For. I've repeating them and they both sound the same to me. Maybe I say them wrong? I use a few abbreviations..like "OMG" and "WTF" the reasons is because I don't actually say those words out loud. Usually I even pronounce them "Oh em Gee"... never "oh my gosh" or whatever. A friend of mine that I email frequently throughout the day gets on me for my lack of capitals and punction. I just don't always care to do that..and it's not like I'm writing in a professional matter. I try my best on here, but still forget capitals a lot. I totlaly don't understand why people type like that. The one I really hate... is when people don't type in the vowels. Why must you take out the vowels!? is it really that hard to type "Brother" as opposed to "brthr" seriously!!!
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jul 07
Thank you! That's one I totally forgot about. Leaving out vowels. Could it be they just don't know how to spell? lol...
• Sweden
9 Jul 07
"Except on 4 and For. I've been repeating them and they both sound the same to me." Same for me, but on the other hand I'm not a native speaker. On the other hand it looks a bit weird if someone replaces "For" with 4 since it's pronounced completely different in Swedish.
1 person likes this
@raychill (6530)
• United States
9 Jul 07
Ha ha. No vowels could mean that you don't know how to spell I guess. Maybe it's because you don't remember "wait does I come before or after E when it follows a C ... ahh heck I'll write "rcpt" instead!" I didn't even think about Four and 4 in other languages. Duh! they are completely different except in english.
1 person likes this
@Dan_ul (858)
• Romania
9 Jul 07
The internet space is full of abbreviations... people are using it to write faster or or because English is not their's mother language an other reason is to mark out of the crowd... ... My opinion is that this is not the way to do it... I'm also a heater of unnecessary abbreviations, some times I feel the need to shout out, cos some times that's a proof of stupidity:D I'm with you... you're not alone;)
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jul 07
Stupidity, ignorance, uneducated, these are all words that come to mind when I see words like "wuz" and "4" for "for". It seems a lot of people are in agreement.
@Dan_ul (858)
• Romania
9 Jul 07
you tell them girl:P yes a lot of people are in agreement but this things still happens... why is that?
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jul 07
It happens because of all the reasons I just mentioned. Stupidity.......
@totty1969 (1473)
• United States
8 Jul 07
Hello, I see it this way. People abreviate because they don't want to type too much and they think they are on a text message, and you know you get more words by abreviating words. But it cooks my bacon to see it all the time. And you know what, I was born in America where the primary language is English. I still can't after 37 years speak or spell in English. My primary is American and can't speak or spell that well either. Now they have text messages which abreviate and thats not a good way to learn a language. I'm rambling on so I'll let you go with this. I hate when People can't spell out the whole word. Peace, Totty
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jul 07
For someone who says they can't speak or spell in English you do a darn good job. I love your colorful way of putting it...it "cooks your bacon"....now that's good English!
• United States
9 Jul 07
how can you not be able to speak or spell any English after 37 years? and you were born here? now, that, to me, is just not right. i think that the reason people abbreviate, and don't bother to learn proper English is laziness. pure and simple. i admit that i am too lazy most times to reach over and hit the shift button to capitalize some words. but if it is an important point or proper name, i most usually make the extra effort to capitalize it. i don't like the chat vernacular at all and it gets real confusing to me sometimes.
@totty1969 (1473)
• United States
9 Jul 07
Hi canjo, My point is that after 37 years on this Earth I do not speak English, because I speak American. Speaking American is alot different than speaking English. For 1 I'm not English nor do I want to be. I am American and speak American. That's what I meant by not speaking English. I hope I clarified that for you! Peace, Totty
1 person likes this
@lexus54 (3576)
• Singapore
9 Jul 07
More than a year ago, I was involved in a discussion forum and a similar concern over written English and the use of unintelligible short forms in forums was expressed. Mostly, this was directed at the younger generation, some of whom peppered their writing with shortened forms for words that look strange and mispelled. Some older members as well as practitioners of good English feel irritated by this because the writing is hard to decipher. I am also irritated at times although I don't think this is rampant here. This form of lingo is commonplace in chatrooms and SMS communication, and people have conveniently brought this over into forums as well. The people who are guilty of this tend to forget that as there is an international audience in myLot, a common language should be applied in written discussions to promote understanding. They also forget that if they choose to perpetuate their own distorted brand of English in place of proper written English, people may not only feel irritated but may also switch off to whatever they are trying to bring across in their responses. The effectiveness of sharing will be somewhat lost in the process. So far though, I do not think it is a significant problem here, but I do hope to see some improvements nonetheless.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 07
Many of the responses are saying that they pass by discussions that have a lot of the abbreviations in them and I don't blame them.
@lexus54 (3576)
• Singapore
10 Jul 07
This was also what some people said in the other forum I participated. If they cannot figure out the language, they just skip the post and move on. It is a loss for the poster, really, if people bypass their message.
1 person likes this
• Pakistan
9 Jul 07
the world is now getting faster people dont have time so they have to abbreviate now a days some guys type or write a lot of rubbish like hw r ya they just squeeze the milk out of words man and i dont like it but have to do it sometimes
1 person likes this
@maryannemax (12173)
• Sweden
9 Jul 07
hmmm. yup. the world is getting faster. but that does not mean that the world and the people should adjust to us. we should be the ones adjusting to the world changing. hehe. anyway, i still don't like abbreviating words. i love to read words which are spelled completely. and i feel bad when posting lines with shortened words. i feel so unclever.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 07
ameerghilzai...if you don't like doing it why do it? You just lower your standards to those who don't mind sounding and looking uneducated and why would you want to do that if your not?
• United States
9 Jul 07
It isn't one of my pet peeeves but if I can't understand a post, I can't respond to it. The English language is hard enough to learn, but this type of shorthand is worse. It took me about 2 months to figure out lol means laughing out loud.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jul 07
Abbreviating definitely isn't going to help anyone learn the English language. Your right it is hard to learn. Don't feel bad, it took me a long time to figure out lol and there are some I'm still figuring out!
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 07
I am not alone, that is great to know.
@worldwise1 (14888)
• United States
10 Jul 07
I don't think much of these methods either, ctry. The way I see it is since we went to school all of those years to learn to do it the proper way, why not put it to use? I think that with the coming of the internet and IM people have just gotten lazy about language. There are certainly some who possibly don't have a good grasp of the language, but for the rest, they could do much better.
• United States
10 Jul 07
Definitely agree with you. What did we go to school for? I spend too many years learning the correct way of reading and writing to start trying to figure all of that out.
• United States
10 Jul 07
I definitely feel you. I'm very big on grammar, so it absolutely kills I see people writing in netspeak. I seriously think texting is ruining the English language and pretty much dumbing down our teens. My 17 year old cousin WRiTes LiKe THiS aLL 0f THe TiMe, on top of the netspeak mind you, and when she texts me I have to stare at it for about 2 minutes to figure out what the heck she's trying to say, it's ridiculous. I hate abbreviating and don't even do it while texting, unless I run out of characters. It does remind of that Cingular commercial where the girl that ran up her bill by texting, is talking to her mom in netspeak. "IDK my BFF Jill" "TISNF!" LOL. (I hate it, but it still makes laugh. Lol.)
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 07
My niece writes the same way when we im. It seems like it would take longer to keep hitting the caps lock key. I don't like to read anything that makes it hard for me to figure out.
@MGarcia (331)
• United States
9 Jul 07
You have no idea how much things like that bother me. It really bothers me when people will use letters instead of the actual words. u for you, r for are, and so on. I just don't get it, how much longer could it possibly take to type it out?
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 07
My point exactly. They are just lazy or don't know any better, I don't know which.
@maryannemax (12173)
• Sweden
9 Jul 07
people love to abbreviate words when sending text messages. i think it's justifiable. but even when sending text messages, i try not to abbreviate words. i don't like to see myself one day being used to being lazy spelling words right. so, i always spell them completely even if they are long and boring. so, i can't understand why people try to shorten words even here in myLot. not all of us are good in understanding abbreviated words. just like me. i can't understand and get the complete thought of sentences having too much abbreviations.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 07
Text messaging is something else completely since they usually cost money. Writing a discussion on mylot we have all the freedom and time we need to do a good job.
@bigmacnc (142)
• United States
9 Jul 07
I picked up the habit in chat rooms and while working with medical records. I do not type fast and my spelling is not that great too. Also a stroke 3 years ago limits my abilities to post.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jul 07
I can understand your abbreviating because of a stroke but on medical records? I'm sure the abbreviations there aren't like those I mentioned and are commonly used medical terms.
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
9 Jul 07
I can see where the use of some abbreviations in texting could be beneficial for the sake of being frugal. However to use them all of the time irritates me too! I have students who are in such a habit of writing that way that they try to use that jargo when charting at the hospital on legal documents! As you said, to use 'wus' for 'was' makes little sense to me, as they both have three letters. It seems that some of this jargon is merely a 'sign of the times' and to look cool.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Jul 07
I can't imagine using jargon when charting in a hospital or on legal documents. That should be illegal to do. Not everyone in the world understands it and a big mistake could be made. As for texting....more often than not I think it's just as easy to use another word or maybe even not use a word if your trying to save money.
@finidinwa (497)
• United States
9 Jul 07
please i just do that to make my work very fast
• United States
9 Jul 07
If your in a hurry to get your discussion done you might think about the fact that the longer the discussion is the more your apt to earn for it. Maybe you should log onto mylot when you have more time. If you read some of the replies to this discussion you will notice that a lot of members will not reply to a discussion that contains abbreviations.
@ladyluna (7004)
• United States
9 Jul 07
Hello Crtymuziklvr, I understand and share your concern about the degradation of language. I'm not sure if this is just an English speaking phenomenon, but I tend to doubt it. While there is certainly room for slang, and the expansion of language, I share your displeasure at seeing unnecessary substitutions for universally understood words, within each language. Your example of the number four, for the word for, and wuz for the word was are perfect examples. Our use of the spoken and written language continues to be a distinction between ourselves and other life forms. To discard the value of language is, I believe, a great disservice to us all, most especially the writer. If one uses an abbreviation because they do not know how to accurately spell the word, I believe that they rob themselves of the opportunity to expand their vocabulary. Also, when one slows down, to either phonetically break down a word, so as to spell it correctly, or takes the time to grab a dictionary to use phonetic rules to figure out how to find the word in the dictionary, I believe that the person grows their analytical prowess, and ultimately pens better thought-out sentences and paragraphs. This is the key to effective communication, thereby lessening the likelihood of mis-interpretation. My husband isn't a great speller. His mind leans more toward mathematics. Yet, he is very much in the habit of reaching for the dictionary when the correct spelling of a word escapes him. He seems to find great satisfaction in this exercise. Because, ultimately his words are better understood and received by the reader. Why do people do it, you ask. I suspect that it has alot to do with 'the cool factor'. As much of texting substitutions are performed by our younger generation. That, and perhaps the possibility that our younger generation is not in the habit of reaching for the dictionary in times of uncertainty. Then, there's also the reality that most cellular subscribers pay for each text message they send. I'm not sure if they pay for the number of characters, per message. Yet, as I recall, that was a characteristic of text billing, at least initially. So, perhaps that fee penalty is partially to blame for the development of the shortcut behavior. In any case, I would like to see less texting in environments where the true exchange of thoughts and ideas is the goal, such as MyLot. Nevermind that those short-cuts decrease the amount earned per post -- because that seems to be determined by the length and value of the post. Hmmm, maybe that's a way to discourage short-cutting; to remind those who do it that their pay-out is greater when the length of their post is longer. Any thoughts on that?
• United States
9 Jul 07
I don't know where to start. As for not knowing how to spell a word...the words "was" and "for" should not be a problem. If they are and your native language is English you have a bigger problem than you know. I don't expect anyone to pull out a dictionary to write a discussion on mylot but I would hope they could at least use the correct spelling making it easier for us to read. As for being "cool" all I have to say is that it's a sorry state of affairs when it's cool to sound uneducated. Not to mention why does anyone have to be cool on mylot? Cell phones have different ways of billing and I'm sure if a smaller word could take the place of a larger one the cost would be the same or even less. I agree that if members of mylot thought about it they would see that it's better to make their discussions longer which would mean spelling words out.
9 Jul 07
I think people are just getting lazy. I tend to stay away from posts that won't write stuff out they way it should be. I don't even abbreviate when it comes to texting on the cell phone. It takes too long to figure out what people are trying to say. If you want to write in English, then please use it properly.
• United States
9 Jul 07
Amen! I don't abbreviate when sending a text on the cell either. It's just as easy to use a smaller word. I guess people just have a problem thinking of other words to use.
1 person likes this