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Back to school tricks and tips: slang and txt speak

Back to School with Macmillan DictionaryNext in our Back to school tricks and tips series.

These posts are for our English language learners and are meant to be entertaining as well as helpful. Let me know what you think, or share your stories on Macmillan Dictionary’s Learn English Facebook page or in comments at the end of these posts. Happy learning!

Slang and txt spk in the classroom

Yo! is probably not the best way to greet your English language teacher when you get back to class for a new term but they couldn’t exactly tell you that it’s ‘not English’. And if you got a text from your teacher saying something like: ‘Remember that the first class after the holidays is tomorrow at 2pm.’, to which you responded with ‘k. c u l8r’. Well, that’s English too – so your teacher can’t really be too down on you about it.

But your teacher may be concerned that you aren’t using the right English in the right context. It’s cool that you’re at home with English slang and online English phrases, I mean YOLO, right? But here are some pointers to keep you out of trouble in your written work:

1) You, your and you’re, not u, ur and ur. Seriously.
2) Whether you love it, are in love or full of love in general, the word has two vowels and neither one is a u. Love. Not luv, luvvies.
3) Capitalizing (take this to the bank): I is still a capital letter when referring to yourself. Even if you are being humble. Even if you are in a rush. The first letter after a full stop (period) or at the beginning of a sentence is still a capital letter. Apostrophes come and go, it’s true – but this rule holds. Believe it.
3) If there’s something you want to emphasise, e.g.: ‘He just knew his teacher would understand…’ then put it in italics or underline it. *Asterisks* are for Twitter and SHOUTING is just plain rude.
4) Lastly, don’t tag it. No #arewedoneyet at the end of an essay.

Next week’s tricks and tips for school: the best communicators use plain English. Words that impress and words that distress your teachers.

Have a good start to the new term!

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Laine Redpath Cole

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