A photo of a loon to take your mind off my texting errors. Ty. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

Most of the time, when I’m texting people, I use a mixture of abbreviations, emojis and longhand. Like most people, I’m not opposed to taking shortcuts. I don’t give it a lot of thought. Perhaps I should.

My sister-in-law and I had a recent exchange. She was trying to reach her brother (let’s call him Tyler), but he was driving, so I responded for him. She asked questions. He dictated his answers, and I typed his response. After a bit of back and forth. She responded with a seemingly impatient, “Ty!!!!” I texted back, “What? He’s driving.”

She then took the time to explain that “Ty” is short for thank you, not a nickname for her brother. No wonder my most frequently used emoji is a facepalm. There are over 30 different abbreviations for the phrase “thank you.” A few examples are THX, TQ, th, ty, TU, THNQ, TKS, TKU, T/Y, thankx, thankq, and 10Q. I may have to stick to typing it out and keep my comments to myself.

On the short drive back to our house, I wondered about all the cute emojis and abbreviations I’ve used, thinking I had a hardcore understanding of what I was communicating. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I’ve unknowingly declared my undying love to a contractor and most of my children’s teachers. All of them deserve my worship, but they were probably confused by my star-struck texts to the most straightforward request.

Though I may not know the various abbreviations, I safely assume most emojis have some alternative meaning. My learning curve felt reminiscent of being an exchange student in my own house because my kids thought it prudent to teach me the dirty words. Language evolves, and so do abbreviations and emojis. Use them wisely. (I’d insert a smiley face here, but it may not mean what I want it to mean.) TY.


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