Excuse Your Typos? No I Won’t, Actually.

As our fingers fly across our smartphones, we’ve developed a shorthand way to dash off messages without spending too much time on the finer points of spelling and grammar. “C U later” and “gr8” substitute for actual language when we’re communicating via the small screen. Makes you wonder what the great writers would have done with the limitations of the mobile keypad. A few years ago, a British mobile provider announced that it would condense the classics into text messages, like Hamlet’s soliloquy: “2b? Nt2b??”

However, as we come up with ways to spend less time pecking at the keyboard (and presumably spend more time paying attention to our driving), we’re also lowering our standards for grammar and spelling. Not to get too schoolmarm-ish about this, but the rash of signature lines begging the message recipient’s forgiveness for lousy spelling and ham-fisted typing is getting a little too, well, automatic.

Appending the phrase “Excuse typos and brevity” to emails seems to give senders an all-clear to deliver messages that require the skills of a code-buster to decipher. (I’ve gotten more than a few texts that read something like “arg yo goin2 tge cinf?” Uh, maybe you should just call me next time…)

All right, enough with the scolding: The bottom line is that, particularly with messages to business colleagues and clients, we should not allow laziness to take over. In my humble opinion (note that I did not say IMHO), letting your guard down in one communications venue means you’ll start to slip up in more important areas, like a new business proposal, or an email to the CEO.

So, take the extra few seconds to proof that text or email, and use spell-check. They don’t charge you extra for it.

By Chris Kent