Is the Internet damaging the QUALITY of the written word?

November 30, 2006 4:07pm CST
This question relates to the quality of writing rather than the volume. Do you think that grammar, spelling and the structure of written langauges, in this case English are suffering with the Internet. Those of us who went to school before Microsoft et al, grew up writing in exercise books with a teacher closely monitoring our mistakes. Today, children seem to be learning bad grammar online with nobody to point out their errors (ie the quality of language used in Q & A's here). What do you think will happen when they reach university?
16 people like this
196 responses
@Desdemona (1305)
• Canada
30 Nov 06
I think the internet has improved the quality of writing for many. Why do I say that? Simple - it gets people to write & read! In my days, we watched tons of television and truly that provided no means of improving our grammer. Now, we have the internet and emails. I believe this is forcing us to consider how we write and what we write. If anything, it is forcing us to consider our errors with grammer, spelling and the structure of our sentences/paragraphs. That's my opinion!
3 people like this
@boeyong (256)
• Malaysia
1 Dec 06
Problem with "writing" on the internet, aka emails (I'll throw in SMS as well) is that there is no grammar sense. What with expressions like LOL, :) and so forth. Grammar is not the criteria for communicating online (alas!). I prefer the old-fashioned ink-on-paper type where you actually write letters with the proper salutation, address, subject, body and signature with all the indentations and paragraphs. In our fast-paced online world - email just kills all the finesse in writing a good letter and grammar skills.
@Desdemona (1305)
• Canada
1 Dec 06
Sorry hun, I have to disagree with you. In business, I have sent many daily emails that require proper salutations and professional writings. No hacker language or "common" computer lingo allowed!
1 person likes this
@boeyong (256)
• Malaysia
1 Dec 06
I beg to differ. You should have seen the many email communications I receive from people who run the gamut from bank officers to business managers and you are going to wonder if they really went to English school. They are not sending me friendly emails but official ones - sales quotations, bank records, etc. Maybe because people think it is just an email and don't really recognize the importance of being "official" in its appearance. Unless it contains a lot of "legalese" and has to be in its legal format.
2 people like this
@mythmoh (3994)
• United States
30 Nov 06
it is a big concern.the fast world has changed everything and even the writing skill.many of ths generation kids are having trouble with spellings and grammar.they just know only short form of the word like u,c etc.sure it will be a hurdle when they go for higher studies.
• United States
1 Dec 06
I agree with you. However, I think the biggest problem is math. Everything is done on a computer, and nobody uses their minds. People cannot do simple adding and subtracting. Writing skills are corrected automatically, so perhaps they are suffering a bit too.
3 people like this
• India
1 Dec 06
ya i agree... many of my frndz including me hav even forgotten d grammar which v hav already learned.... its ruining our future in unversities
@nannacroc (4049)
30 Nov 06
I think text messaging is awful it doesn't help anyone. Grammar spelling and structure seem to have gradually become lost over the years. Text speak and the internet have not helped but neither have teachers who can't spell. When my daughter was eight she had to point out to her teacher that there were two n's in beginning, luckily we taught our daughter to spell, but what hope is there for the children if the teachers are not able. How can you judge the quality of what is written if you can't understand it properly because of bad spelling or bad grammar?
3 people like this
• China
1 Dec 06
in my opinion, the meaning that you want to express is the most important! spell and grammar is also important which can make your sentence more beautiful!
1 person likes this
1 Dec 06
Thank you to everyone for their reply. Over 200 replies in 18 hours makes this a hot very topic. I can't reply to everyone, but it looks like we share a common view here. The Internet is changing the written language, just not for the better.
@polachicago (19077)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I have no doubt that the reason for this profusion of grammatical errors is that most American elementary and high school students aren't taught English grammar anymore.
3 people like this
@annihilus (2185)
• Italy
1 Dec 06
yes, I thing that a little Internet can damage the quality of written words, but not too much.
3 people like this
@14missy (3185)
• Australia
1 Dec 06
I agree. My daughter uses text messaging and msn constantly and her grammar and spelling are definately suffering because of it. The shortened versions of words (some of which I can't even decipher) and the lack of punctuation are really evident. I have succummed to it myself at times though with ROFL and LOL and other abbreviations.(Check out this and other forums like it...)
@boeyong (256)
• Malaysia
1 Dec 06
So if anyone says that the internet has gotten everyone into more writing - yes, but writing what? In my old school days, we were taught nothing less than Queen's English, with every emphasis placed on grammar, spelling and precise pronunciation. My English Teacher would turn in her grave if she finds me (and the modern generation) writing like what we do on the internet :)
3 people like this
@review (60)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I think the Internet is getting much more criticism than it deserves, though yes some aspects are a contribution. It may be a combination of technological "advances" say games for instance, how many kids are growing up on XBox and PSP ... so they are using vocabulary skills less, then say if they were engaged with their peers in a setting where they communicate verbally (play outdoors, going out with friends) But who contributes to this ... parents (some), succumbing to the tech whims of their kids and not setting limits. Conversely, on the positive side, speaking of the Internet, with the advent of blogs there are many more people,including teens, engaged in writing. Blogs are competitive and some will aspire to be better writers as a result. More people are reading as well. On another note, in the 80s we thought calculators would destroy our kids' minds. They/we survived and I think we will survive in tact also.
• India
1 Dec 06
No internet i not damaging the quality of written word
2 people like this
@kbkbooks (7030)
• Canada
1 Dec 06
If that is true, why didn't your proofread for mistakes? I think actually that computer has destroyed the skill of proofreading.
1 person likes this
@Spheria (181)
• United States
1 Dec 06
Internet forums and chats are no adopting (and already have) computer spell check and grammar programs.
2 people like this
@kbkbooks (7030)
• Canada
1 Dec 06
laughing - laughing
They are also NOW adopting it, but they didn't get to you fast enough!
2 people like this
@Pmcbride (1082)
1 Dec 06
The internet may be a cause of bad grammar in writing but, it is not the only cause. Many of the "teach typing" websites take grammar into consideration e.g. points go against you if commas, full stops or quotation marks are not typed correctly. The main cause of bad grammar in my eyes is Text messaging (which is now also done on instant messagaing sites) the shortening of words is ok for notation e.g. shorthand, but not (in my eyes at least) for normal conversation, it is difficult to understand and all words don't need to be shortened. Maybe it is just me, and i am getting on in years (34) but, i think that grammar is "going down the tubes" generally without having anything to do with the internet, all one has to do these days is listen to the younger people speak, they even talk as they would text sometimes.
2 people like this
@boeyong (256)
• Malaysia
1 Dec 06
My teenage daughter's favourite line "dot-dot-dot-dot" What expression is that, especially when she rolls up her eyes with it
2 people like this
• Pakistan
30 Nov 06
I think text messaging is awful it doesn't help anyone. Grammar spelling and structure seem to have gradually become lost over the years. Text speak and the internet have not helped but neither have teachers who can't spell. When my daughter was eight she had to point out to her teacher that there were two n's in beginning, luckily we taught our daughter to spell, but what hope is there for the children if the teachers are not able. How can you judge the quality of what is written if you can't understand it properly because of bad spelling or bad grammar?
2 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
text messaging is much worse nothing is professional when it comes to text messaging
2 people like this
@satlove (1111)
• India
1 Dec 06
twister - twister
i don't know about others but in my case i am facing problems in writing words......i am few times unable to write the full word....like......"before that".i write."b4 dat"......this is a serious problem facing by me.....but no gramatical errors r noticed
2 people like this
@carmat (2850)
• Canada
1 Dec 06
I don't know that I would blame it all on the internet, the school system is more to blame. The kids have no discipline when it comes to grammer or spelling. The internet just gives them an opportunity to show off how much the school system is failing them.
2 people like this
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I think it greatly depends on where you go online. I don't think that chatspeak is helping kids learn anything about writing. But they are still receiving instruction in schools. I'm glad I didn't have to learn back in the good old days. I can't use a dictionary to save my life, but I look up words and learn all the time by using the computer or a portable electronic dictionary. I also have very messy writing and probably would have never written much of anything if it hadn't have been for my excellent typing skills. But that's just the computer in general, not the internet. I also like to use online resources while writing though (like the MLA handbook, which I realize also comes in book form, but once again I would not use it if it were not online). So I think it depends on how you use the internet. You can get a lot out of it if you want to.
2 people like this
@zuri25 (2128)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I'm an assistant director of a college writing center so I see a lot of writing everyday. I find that people who use shorthand or "computer lingo" excessively tend to write in a more conversational manner, meaning that they write like they talk or, in this case, chat online. However, I also see a lot of papers that are very well written even though the student uses a computer on a daily basis because he or she is able to distinguish between acceptable internet language and acceptable academic language. Basically, if a person was a poor to moderate writer before they started using computer lingo, then they have a greater tendency to use language incorrectly even more. But, if a person was a good to excellent writer beforehand, then they tend to stay the same or get better even with internet language usage.
• United States
1 Dec 06
I believe text messaging, IMing and quick emails are helping to deteriorate the standard english language. The youth of today, do not properly know how to structure a sentence. Spelling is a joke, they sorta sound words out phonetically, but can not tell you when it is misspelled. The internet is unfortunately a necessary evil. We have become a society that has the need and desire to constantly be connected and reachable and this is one of the downsides.
@chance00 (3333)
• United States
1 Dec 06
I do not think so,I love to read and write so it is a joy to go online and even have the things I write spell checked.The internet is a place where you do far more looking up things as opposed to writing I think.My children learn most of their writing skills in school not on the net
2 people like this
@arveemarc (433)
• Philippines
1 Dec 06
not really the internet... but text messaging.. cellphones nowadays grows more and more high tech when peeps no longer cares about correct spelling and grammar... they do it in shortcut like: i lv n d Pilipins (I leave in the Philippines) hw r u (how are you?) m wtng 4 u hr (im waiting for you here) duh! most people now are turning into lowlife..
2 people like this
• United States
1 Dec 06
I do agree with you in most ways, but there are also benefits too, I use a spell check and by it correcting my spelling I have now learnt how to spell many word correctly. I am a terrible speller so it has helped me. the other would be typing. now a days everyone knows how to type, that is something I could never do well as a child. All of my kids can type 10X faster than I can.
@alchemistrx (2577)
• Philippines
1 Dec 06
I'm not a mother yet but i do to like to teach my children someday with correct spelling, grammar and structure especially in the English language.I use text messaging but i see to it that it's correctly spelled and no abbreviations.
2 people like this
@CrazyP (947)
• Canada
1 Dec 06
well me i know the gremmer and structure part but i cant spell i never could spell and i wouldnt blame it on the internet becuaswe they people who dont know the difference between the net and other things arnt smart enough anyways
2 people like this