You are here:

Do I Know Its Wrong: Children's and Adults' Use of Unconventional Grammar in Text Messaging

, ,

Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal Volume 27, Number 9, ISSN 0922-4777


There is concern that the violations of conventional grammar (both accidental and deliberate) often seen in text messages (e.g., "hi [smiley face emoticon] how is ya?!!") could lead to difficulty in learning or remembering formal grammatical conventions. We examined whether the grammatical violations made by 244 British children, adolescents and young adults in their text messages was related to poorer performance on tasks of grammatical knowledge, including translating grammatically unconventional text messages into standard English. We found that variance in the production of grammatical violations in naturalistic messages was inconsistently predicted by grammatical task performance. Specifically, primary school children who made poorer grammar-based spelling choices were more likely to make more grammatical violations in their everyday messages, and university students who failed to correct more grammatical errors in a given set of messages were also more likely to make such errors in their own messages. There were no significant relationships for secondary school students. We conclude that using unconventional grammar when texting is not a consistent sign of poor grammatical abilities, although there may be links between some aspects of grammatical skill and grammatical violations in text messages.


Kemp, N., Wood, C. & Waldron, S. (2014). Do I Know Its Wrong: Children's and Adults' Use of Unconventional Grammar in Text Messaging. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 27(9), 1585-1602. Retrieved November 27, 2022 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on November 3, 2015. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.