Onisa Khan


The present study aims to compare and construct how SMS leave impacts on student’s writing skill at school, college and university level. This research is conducted to know whether SMS impact positively or negatively. A qualitative and quantitative approach is used for data collection to conduct the study. Time period of this paper is from May 2017 to July 2017.To verify the above mentioned topic different paper are collected at different levels to check the impact of SMS on student’s writing skills.

Key-Words:  SMS, Abbreviations, Student’s writing skills, Qualitative and Quantitative research.


            Nowadays, there is a trend of excessive use of mobile phone.  Specially, students use a lot of mobile phone while walking, eating, playing and working, everywhere. They use to send and receive uncountable messages on daily base either of a great importance or for the sake to just kill the time. They consider it an easy way of communication rather than to call someone. This is rightly said by someone that:

“Excess of everything is bad”.

There are different SMS packages that are not costly and providing the public an easy access to send and receive messages World-widely. No doubt, mobile phone shows positive impacts on students, it provides different ways to get knowledge by different places and from different sources but it’s excessive use has left negative impact on student’s writing skills. The manner people converse as well as write has been influenced by text messaging. The basic aim is to discover and study the impact of SMS usage on writing skill of students.  A rare research has been conducted on this topic and this paper indeed will attempt to testify and indicate the positive and negative impact of SMS on student’s writing skills at any level.

Text have changed the way we write, obliterating conventional punctuations and replacing properly spelled words with abbreviations, initials and ‘emoticon’ smiley symbols.

Messaging, texting or SMS (short message service) is a way of communication that interconnects people living in any corner of the world by this mode. It takes minimum time one can say few seconds. The concept of SMS was flourished in 1984. It was developed in the Franco German GSM cooperation by Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebacrt. The very first message was sent in 1992 from Neil Papworth. The first message was ‘Merry Christmas’. 4.1 Billion SMS sent daily in 2008. SMS is predicted to exceed 10 Trillion in 2013. The ‘short’ part carries maximum size of text message that is about 160 characters (letters, numbers, or symbols in the Latin alphabet). It was a slow process when it started but gradually it succeeded. Today it is the most commonly and widely used application in the world. About 81% of the mobile phone users subscribe it. There are different networks that make it more and more easy way of communication.


            This study aims to

  • Highlight the problems of short forms at academic level.
  • Know the positive impact of SMS on students.
  • Analyze the learning concept in students through SMS.


Mobile phone is a modern technology. It is considered an important tool for communication that everyone can take it in his hand, pocket or bag while travelling or going somewhere. Students think it compulsory to have a mobile phone because it’s an easy and smallest device of communication. As Fox(2001)concludes from her focus group interviews, texting is a useful way of undertaking one’s social obligations to stay in touch without spending time or energy on the encounter. SMS is the simplest way to have connection with one another. Students take it easy way to text someone whenever they are getting late, busy or in trouble but excessive use of SMS critically effects on student’s writing skills. Students do a lot of mistakes such as spelling, grammatical and verbal. They do such mistakes in examination or class test. British Broadcasting Company (March 4, 2008) “reports that text messaging has long been blamed for declining standards of spelling and grammar, particularly in paper and pencil writing”.

A study from Pew Internet and American Life Project, “Writing, Technology and Teens,” found that the cell phone text-based abbreviated communications teens use are showing up in more formal writing.

Some of the concerns raised by such research are as follows:

  1. Incorrect spellings: Computer spell checks have created an ‘auto-correct generation’ that is unable to spell common words such as ‘necessary’ and ‘separate’.  
  1. Worsening grammar: Learning how to construct a sentence and to know the laws of grammar takes years of practice. But, online messaging is making students flout the laws of grammar with impunity.   
  1. Incomplete thoughts:Texting has affected the ability of students to frame cohesive sentences: with a beginning, a middle and an end.  “Sometimes, I receive messages from my students that are incomprehensible. I have to call them back for clarifications,” said a teacher.  

It has become much more popular among Students when they sit together they talk on text message instead of physically discourse. Their texting discourse exploit their writing skills.

Thurlow (2001) “much popular and discourse attends to the perceived communication scarcity of young people”.

SMS may encourage the student’s creativity by different ways:

  • Improving communication
  • vocabulary enhance
  • Adoption of different styles
  • Improving writing skills
  • Reading lovers

These are the factors that may play positive role on students. Student’s use of different short forms may be right communicatively but grammatically considered wrong, for example: h r u? (How are you), Where were u bzy yesterday? (Where were you busy yesterday), v have 2 do dat (we have to do that), m k (I’m ok). Students use such sentences that sometimes, teachers get confused and unable to understand the idea of students. One English Teacher believes that text language has become “second nature” to her students(Carey); they are  so used to it that they do not even catch themselves doing it. These are the problems that usually faced by foreign people who are unable to understand these shortforms or idea conveyed by students. So, here is the main focus on student’s writing skills. Due to excess use of mobile phones and by getting addicted of doing SMS their writing skill is affected. There may be several factors which can cause it but by getting more involved in this we can highlight few examples regarding the use of short forms.Crystal(2008),in his book, Texting The Gr8 Db8(a logogram which stands foe texting:The Great Debat), Crystal refuses the popular view that SMS language and its profuse use of abbreviations and slang can impact negatively on student language and literacy.

  • One can be so involved or have a great interest in mobile phone that he may forget whether he is writing a paper formal or informal.
  • HASTE MAKES WASTE” a well said proverb also help us to evaluate the reason, while writing to overcome the short time spam one can use short forms.
  • Some of the students consider this act of using short forms a unique and modern way. To show their interest and uniqueness they often commit these errors.
  • After using these short forms again and again students get habitual of this then they get confused with spellings while writing formally.

Some of the Western world philosophers believe that “the habitual use of poor grammar is leading to a growing number of students who cannot pass even Basic English”.According to Baron(2008) as soon as children can distinguish between formal and informal language, SMS language does not effect their literacy.

In an online article by a freelancer, Vincent Madrone, he quoted a study published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project entitled “Writing, Technology and Teens” that said that the habitual use of  the informal grammar used in texting means that poor spelling, sentences structure and syntax are becoming the standard for written communication. According to an article in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper entitled “Texting, Twitter contributing to student’s poor grammar skills of college students, it’s killing it. The rate of students who cannot pass Basic English grammar tests is climbing at an alarming rate, close to 30% in survey done at Waterloo University in Canada. Even students who had good grades in high school are having troubles with Basic English grammar, according to the article.


            The way used for data collection is both qualitative and quantitative. Through qualitative technique, questionnaire and interviews are taken at different levels of students where as through quantitative technique, multiple sampling is used.

Data-collection:                                                                                                                                               30 Students were selected from different schools, colleges and universities 10 students of each level from both private and government sector. As per student at school level, in 10 minute conversation, more than 10 SMS sent and received in which mostly words were used in short forms. Most common mistakes that found in paper and SMS texting that are “u” in the place of “You”, “iz” in the place of “Is”, “plz” in the place of “Please” etc  while conversation with college level student, found same short forms while texting but in paper consciously very rare mistakes were there and university level, in SMS very rare short forms were used, hardly 1%.

Through questionnaire and interviews, various questions regarding the impact and usage ofSMS were asked from the selection persons with these means several points are jotted down. The main purpose was to know the impact of  SMS on student’s writing skills, 90% of that population is strongly agree with the question that this is the easiest way of communication and it has a great influence on the generation specially on students.SMS harms the writing skills of the students ,this was agreed by 40% but 50% of the population is strongly agree. Few questions were intentionally asked from the teachers group to approach the target and in response 60% meet the point that students do spelling mistakes most commonly where as 40% were in favor of grammatical mistakes. Regarding the correction of  those (grammatical and spelling) mistakes teachers were highly confident that they tend to correct those mistakes in language subjects while 10% ignore in non-core subjects. After this survey it was concluded that these types of mistakes (short forms, abbreviations) are most commonly used in school and college level rather than university level, they may use such words in texting but not in writing academically.



Data collected through surveys, questionnaires, interviews and observations leads to an analysis that short forms ultimately effects on student in both positive and negative ways but its most influential consequence is that it ruin student’swriting skills in various ways. Given below is a graph that  shows the result which was made after observations and analysis. This research indicates the effect of  SMS on student’s writing skill. It is analyzed that at school level students are much more habitual of using short forms for example: iz, m, fvrt, bro, plz, thnx, b4, ni8, gud mor9g, etc.But at college and University level students never did such mistakes consciously.

Here are few more samples of  students that are collected at school level of different standards that can be helpful in recognizing the effect. Some examples of common mistakes in academic and sms text are added below.


            From the above result, findings of the study are;

Firstly, As SMS is a writing activity so students use a lot of short forms and abbreviations while writing text. During the observation, it is observed that use short forms and abbreviations not only harm the students’ writing but also confused the teachers to understand the basic ideas and information that are being expressed by students.But use of such type of forms also shows lack of knowledge in true sense. It also predicts their unfaithfulness with the right use of spellings and grammatical rules. By practicing again and again the very same thing they become habitual of the incorrect spellings grammatical errors and abbreviations and short forms that are not acceptable academically at any cost specially in language. It is a writing activity so it calls for the user to educe and utilize all skills pertinent to writing. It has also become a source of time pass.Actually students convey their message successfully. They however, fail to use proper language to form their message structurally coherent. The structure both words and sentences are implied here. So they do grammatical and spelling mistakes at academic level.

Secondly, its impact on students’ writing skills is concerned; it casts positive as well as negative impact also. As language is a collective phenomenon and if the majority of any given human population uses their language in a certain way, there should be nothing wrong at all. For instance, if students tend to write “please” as “plz” one positive aspect of this kind of usage is convenience; it takes less number of letters and consumes less space but negative impact of such short forms is that they are not acceptable at academic level. So it has both positive and negative impact depending upon its use. Research analysis can be sum up with this beautiful and practical quotation;

                        “Things are not good or bad, thinking makes it so”.


Thirdly, through SMS students also learn a lot of knowledge such as they create different new words, it’s also enhances vocabulary in students.It facilitates the students by different ways. It’s excessive use demolish the bright skills of students in writing.They repeat one word by different time while writing so it becomes beneficial way of learning.


            The conclusion is that it’s excessive use harm the students’ writing at school level and it sometimes confused the teachers to get the main ideas.No doubt SMS shows positive impact as well but through this research, it has proved that SMS impact negatively more that positively.As SMS has become a modern trend so teachers should not ignore the spelling and grammatically mistakes,they must correct them at spot time.This research also has proved that Students must be careful while texting and writing a paper.So the main point is here that it should not be used for time pass rather it should be used when it is necessary.


1: As Fox (2001) The Impact of Mobile Phone on Young People’s Social life

2: British Broadcasting Company (March 4,2003) The Impact of SMS Language on Academic Writing of student-what do we need to panic about?

3: Thurlow (2001) The impact of SMS Language on Academic Writing of student-what do we need to panic about?

4: (Carey) “Texting and Writing”

5:Crystal (2008) SMS Texting and its Potential Impacts on Students’ written Communication skills


6: Baron (2008) Always on; Language in an online and Mobile World: Oxford University Press

7: Dheeraj.Jangra@timesgroup.comPublish Date: Jan 5 2017 6:48PM


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