On Facebook today, a friend of mine asked if anybody knew why particular roads had been unusually busy this afternoon. Somebody responded to her:
No peak hour
Just like that, with no punctuation at all – although he did capitalise the N. If I were to take the most literal and obvious translation possible, I would assume he meant, ‘There was no peak hour today.’ In context, of course, that doesn’t really make sense. So maybe what he meant was, ‘I don’t know why. Was it peak hour?’
Language exists for the purpose of communication. We have rules of spelling, punctuation, and grammar for the sake of clarity and uniformity. In the absence of such rules, ambiguity reigns supreme. I feel that these rules are particularly important in text-only conversations; such scenarios lack any body language or facial expression to assist in comprehension. Yet it is in our increasingly text-based society that the rules are being tossed aside in favour of abbreviations and headache-inducing ideas of ‘cool’.
I don’t pretend to be an expert. I’ve never formally studied English grammar. But as I hope you can tell, I’ve got a pretty good grasp of the fundamentals, and if I’m unsure of something I do like to check or ask somebody. I don’t mind expending some effort to ensure that my reader receives the message that I intended to send; I think it’s worth it.
I think you’re worth it.