Mused 3:
New Spellings
New Words


I was kicking around an idea recently, am I all right with alright?

I am not going for some Godëlian “Is a sentence fragment is a sentence fragment.”

Alright is the spelling in the modern vernacular. It is prolly alright with me. Because for spelling like grammar, I believe meaning is the decision criterion. If the other recipient gets your meaning, than ur spelling or usage is essentially correct.

Universality and standard spellings and grammar are rooted in a desire to be more widely, or ideally, generally understood.


Alright in this spelling is prolly already generally understood, if not accepted. Prolly on other hand meaning ‘probably’ is understood only within a minority, composed mostly of heavy IM/DM/texters  under age thirty.

They and their cohort, however, are provoking a sea change in spelling (with spillover effects on English grammar and usage).


Alright and prolly are both shorter than their predecessors. “All right” goes from nine characters (or should I say 9) to “alright” seven characters. “Probably” eight characters becomes “prolly” only six or “probs” a sparse five.

Why is that relevant?

I know you all are going to scream because Twitter only allows a 140 characters and to an extent that’s an element, but far more pervasive is time. Our crunched time. The need for speed. Our culture is moving with a heretofore never before seen pace. Skyscrapers can be built in a months. Texts and messages sent at stoplights. A group text with ten or twelve respondents linked in is hardly atypical within a Millennial and younger demographic.

In this context naturally something “adorable” is simply “adorbs.” And there is no need to “collaborate” when you can simply “collab” and get the same benefits. Not with “random people” or “strangers” but with the equally sketchy, but typographically more efficient “randos.”

“Randos” feels true like an addition to the English lexicon and far more respectable than Merriam-Webster’s ridiculous claim that the suffix “–isms” is the word of year. Newsflash, ya dolts, “ism” is not something anyone is using as a word! It fails the most basic standard.

The shortening and inventiveness that randos, collab, and probs “rep” is ubiquitous.

Rep is more problematic given “represent” “reputation” “report” amongst many other words that start with “r, e, p.”

Reread: The shortening and inventiveness that randos, collab, and probs rep is ubiquitous.

With meaning the highest arbiter, did you know what I meant? Could you intuit? This is the vernacular “rn.”

“Rn” reps a different level though, coming from “right now” it is truly an abbreviation and this is where the spelling spillover starts to hit grammar, lol. hbu?

I am sure you are, at least, all, ikr.

Per “ushe” (a three character saver from “usual”).


Know that capitalization is a battle barely being fought by Merican teachers anymore. Proper nouns rest in peace with the Pinto and Edsel.

K? k.

B4 I take creds for this post, I do want to warn fellow Gen X’ers, some things are not as de rigeur as you think they are.

As powerfully present as the shortening trend is, BRB died in the chatroom. No one is BRB from their phone or social media.

Aaron Mandel

Aaron Mandel

Mused is writer Aaron Mandel’s new column. It will consist of things he has mused on, is musing on, and may be amused by.

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