Gadget-loving Brits forget how to write and spell


An over-reliance on technology is damaging our ability to write and spell properly, according to a new research.

Four out of every five respondents quizzed in the YouGov survey agreed that the rise of digital communication methods on an ever-wider range of gadgets over the past few years has seen the quality of our English skills suffer.

The online survey, conducted on behalf of digital pen-maker Livescribe, sought to examine Britain's relationship with consumer technology, and worryingly, the results suggest we'd be lost without it. Some 29 per cent of respondents admitted to feeling "powerless" when they had to do without their favourite gadgets, with "disconnected" (19 per cent) and "frustrated" (eight per cent) also featuring prominently.

This reliance on technology is already taking its toll, if the survey is to be believed, with nearly one in six respondents admitted to writing by hand just once a week or less.

Unsurprisingly, it's mobile phones that are having the greatest impact on the quality of our written English, with 63 per cent of those questioned saying they use their mobile every day and a further 19 per cent using smartphones. And even among those who do still write the old-fashioned way, 34 per cent found themselves inadvertently using "text speak" terms such as "u" and "pls" out of habit.

"This survey points to a worrying precedent that suggests standards in writing and spelling in British adults are deteriorating in later life due to an over-reliance on technology programmes such as predictive texting," said Dr Bernard Lamb, President of the Queen's English Society. "It implies that in the absence of these devices people are going to struggle to remember how to spell".

More than 2,000 adults took part in the online survey, which was conducted over four days at the end of May.