Recently, grammarians from all over the world have been confronted by a dangerous threat to the English language: texting. English majors and professors have been divided over whether texting is just a fad or if it will lead to the downfall of the English language.

It’s already been established that texting has changed the English language. But the cool thing about language is that it always evolves. Less than 10 years ago, things could be referred to as “the bomb” and no one thought it was weird. Even further back, calling something “groovy” or “keen” was acceptable. But if you’re using these words now, please stop. It’s just strange.

The trick to using texting language is to know when not to use it. You probably shouldn’t write a scholarly paper or an email to your boss with texting terms, and if “lol” appears anywhere in your resume, stop and rethink your life choices.

On the other hand, texting terms are perfectly acceptable for texting. That’s what they were created for. Let’s face it; no one has time to use spelled-out words and perfect grammar when having a conversation with a friend about Grey’s Anatomy. The action happens way too fast to worry about using perfect English. By the time you type “by the way,” another character could have already died. It’s perfectly acceptable, even necessary, to use “btw.”

The more personal something is, the more acceptable it is to use texting language. Personal writing and texting don’t need impeccable grammar (unless you are trying to impress someone). Texting terms are also acceptable on Facebook and Twitter, still rather informal types of writing. For class assignments and work projects, though, use standard English. Spell things out. Use proper grammar. You want to look professional and knowledgeable.

Texting has and will continue to change the English language. In recent decades, writing has become more informal, and texting will likely add to this. Maybe in 100 years, “lol” and “btw” will be considered acceptable, formal terms. But for now, it’s best to consider your audience before using texting language.