“IDK when but ill CUL8R!” “ive alrdy bn shpin n planned mah partay n its only 10!!1!” “txtspk iz waaaay over8ed”
If you’ve ever received a text message like those above, I’m sorry. I truly am. But a text is different from Twitter, even if the two share a common character count. So here are 7 grammar and spelling mistakes you need to avoid if you want to be taken seriously as a tweeter – and as an intelligent human being.
There is no hard-and-fast rule for how to tweet. You can tweet haikus or one word descriptions of a picture, rants or praise. However, if you’re using Twitter in a professional or even semi-professional capacity, you’ll want to maintain some standard of sentence structure, spelling, grammar and overall correctness.
No one is asking that you be perfect – we all make mistakes, and these are usually readily forgiven. However, if you make it a habit to talk in textspeak or obscure “code”, you’ll alienate your followers and become a Twitter pariah (unless of course you’re a 13 year old girl, in which case, go for it).
Here are my recommendations for what to avoid when composing your 140 character mini-masterpieces:
- Misplaced, commas. A period is a full stop, a comma indicates a pause. Remember this when penning your tweets.
- Misplaced apostrophe’s. This one really makes me cringe. The rule is that apostrophes are used to indicate possession, not plural, so please don’t sprinkle them throughout your tweet without thinking about it first!
- Forgetting to end your sentence with punctuation If you don’t have room, you can be forgiven for this one from time to time, but do try to end your tweets with a punctuation (such as a period or question mark). It is so much more pleasant to read.
- Confusing your and you’re. Your = possessive adjective, indicating ownership. You’re = contraction of “you” and “are”. Drill this into your brain.
- Using short form when you don’t have to. Everyone understands that you’re working with only 140 characters, so the occasional “you” turning into a “u” won’t bat an eye – however, if u r constantly replcing wrds n dlting vwls 4 no rsn, your tweets will be passed over as an illegible mess.
- TWEETING IN ALL CAPS. Woah, sorry for yelling there. Well, I actually didn’t yell (it’s too early in the morning for that), but it sounded like that in your head, didn’t it? Typing a whole tweet in caps will no doubt get you attention, but it’s probably not the type you’re looking for.
- Donning the hat of the grammar police. Lastly, and possibly more offensive than the previous six grammar gaffes, is the grammar police slip-up. Patrolling Twitter for grammar and spelling mistakes and publicly calling them out is worse, in my opinion, than making the mistake in the first place. To each his or her own, and if someone is bent on bending the rules of language, a quick unfollow will suffice.
Now, nobody (including myself) is perfect, and mistakes will be made. But if you just take 20 seconds to reread your tweets before hitting send to make sure they’re readable, your followers will thank you.
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