A 2016 study by the creators of the US-based group-texting app Blend reveals an interesting finding: The app’s users misspelled 34% of the words they used when the autocorrect function is disabled in their mobile devices.
On average, the 200,000 Blend users involved in the study belonged to the 16-24 age range, which means the users are millennials.
It’s also not uncommon to observe some millennials using incorrect grammar in their social media posts.
Judging from these, one can imagine how these individuals perform in writing tasks in school — or even how most millennials may dislike activities like writing essays and reports.
How did this happen? Why would many of today’s youth find it extra challenging to do well in writing tasks, which are considered fundamental lessons in school?
Here are five of the possible reasons why:
1. Using slang is cool.
Language continually evolves, and with every generation, slang terms emerge. Slang is a form of commonly used informal speech which a particular group of people typically prefer to what is deemed proper language.
Here’s an example: In recent years, slayed has become one of the most popular words to use (especially in terms of fashion or in praise of an impressive performance), used as the past tense of the verb slay. One would say, for instance, “She absolutely slayed on that runway.”
However, the actual conjugations for slay do not include slayed; the correct past tense form is slew and the past participle is slain.
Still, people keeping up with the times frequently tend to use slayed, and impressionable millennials take a cue from them more than their teachers. And of course, seeing and hearing more people write or talk this way only encourages the youth to follow along.
It is hardly surprising, then, that some millennials would willingly adopt incorrectly spelled words, and even use these outside of the proper context, in keeping with the trend, and this may lead them to carry these habits into the classroom, where they should be using proper spelling and grammar.
2. Autocorrect does not help teach proper writing.
The autocorrect functionality of laptops and smartphones actually prevents people from noticing their mistakes. Because the mobile devices automatically correct misspelled words and grammatical errors, it’s easy to think that you have been spelling and using words correctly the whole time.
As a result, when it’s time to write an essay using a pen and paper, it’s highly likely that you would end up spelling certain words and constructing sentences incorrectly.
If you really want to learn correct spelling and grammar though, it may be better to seek the help of professional essay writers. They can point out the mistakes made in the essay and provide you with the polished version, so you can make the comparison.
3. Language switching has given birth to new terminologies.
With immigrants making up a large percentage of most English-speaking countries’ population, “fake” words continue to emerge. The lack of authenticity of these words only comes to the attention of many in school. And, by this time, they are already hard-wired into the vocabulary and are difficult to un-learn.
For example, Spanish-speaking kids call sandwich “sangweesh” and think it’s their mother tongue’s equivalent. Meanwhile, Koreans call physical intimacy “skinship,” which is kind of an English word but cannot be found in any English dictionary and is not a word known by native English speakers.
The evolution of language is beautiful but when it comes to essay writing for school, a “purist” approach is important.
4. “Text language” has become a thing.
Millennials who are more inclined to use text language or shortened versions of words simply find essay writing too burdensome. They are so used to shortening words and sentences and using emojis to say what they need to more easily that they have a low appreciation for how words can create “visual” statements or depict an actual tone.
5. Not all millennials are fans of real books.
Older generations have also pointed out that millennials read actual books less and this has affected their vocabulary. Young people counter that by saying that they do read but they prefer eBooks because they are not heavy and bulky like real tomes.
The problem is, digital versions of books are often riddled with typo errors. According to Forbes magazines, eBooks suffer from this problem because not much attention is given to the production process of the reading material. Meanwhile, actual tomes undergo multiple edits and inspections to ensure that the final print is flawless.
The ability to write “proper” essays is a life skill that young people should acquire. It will serve their advantage when they apply for college, seek work, or build their own business one day (blogging is a definite must for enterprises – a lot of freelance makeup artists establish or reinforce their credibility this way). Thus, despite how difficult it can be, it is crucial to learn the fundamentals of spelling and grammar for essay writing.