The English language is alive and changing. The internet is accelerating changes in our language. Does it matter?
Shakespeare might be rolling in his grave at the onslaught of linguistic changes the English language has endured since the internet came into our lives. Or would he? While the reality is that all languages change and evolve over time, we can still read the Bard’s plays and know what he means. And odds are your parent’s grandparents could read your text to your bestie and gather the meaning as well. So what’s the concern?
Context is everything.
Abbreviations and emojis are super common in texting and certain social media communications. But it’s pretty doubtful you will come across the like in a true journalistic article. That is one reason why the powers that be are not overly concerned about language deteriorating any time soon. The method of communication you are using, therefore, matters in terms of the language being used.
It’s a matter of style.
However, in today’s world a range of journalistic styles does exist. While a newspaper, such as The Washington Post, isn’t likely to shun punctuation or adopt a casual tone, an online source, like Buzzfeed, might depending on the topic of the article. For writers and editors, knowing the distinction comes down to a thorough style guide.
Some rules have changed.
When navigating the shifts sands of language, context and consistency then are the focus, but it is also important to know when some grammar rules are no longer valid. For the longest time, many grammarians considered it a sin punishable by death to end a sentence with a preposition. Over time, this rule has been relaxed, and is no longer the grave offense it once was. As long as the sentences meaning is clear, it is fine to end it with a “with.” We promise.
Incorporating terminology that is more current is likely to attract some new readers and keep others engaged. Just be certain that you aren’t inserting every on-trend phrase of the moment. Pandering isn’t cool, and it isn’t likely to improve your writing either. Your copy should be relevant and coherent, if you can accomplish that, go ahead and spice it up a bit with a bit of slang.