It seems as if everything in the English language is abbreviated these days. From lol to brb to idk, it seems you can never keep up with all this shorthand without a glossary. Sometimes I just want to shake my head (smh, naturally) and scream the unabbreviated wtf. This can all be attributed to the advent of Internet instant messaging that evolved into phone text messaging (technically SMS, which stands for…beats me. Have to look it up). This new mode of communication has no doubt given nightmares to English teachers all across America who are trying to teach their students the rules according to Hoyle. But with ever-faster technology, brevity is King, which means the Queen’s English is taking a beating. This is how many people, particularly this generation’s youths, communicate these days. They want things smaller and faster, including their lingo. It’s a sign of the times, and at the end of the day, it’s all harmless enough.
With one notable exception: I love you.
“Love you” does not deliver nearly the same wallop as “I love you.” Yes, it’s only one letter, but this cannot be abbreviated and still carry the same meaning. That one-letter pronoun is what separates love and something-less-than love. When someone texts (or speaks) “love you,” it means something is missing there. Like hesitation marks on a cutter’s wrists, they can’t quite bring themselves to go through with it. They may have feelings for you, but it’s not love. When it comes to matters of the heart, there should be no shortcuts. Here, short is not sweet. Besides, when it’s the real thing, you want to make sure there is no room for misinterpretation, no matter how long it takes. When it’s really love, the I’s have it. There’s no abridgement, and it’s usually punctuated with a series of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When “love you” is said to me, I’m not offended, but I know it’s not the best they’ve got. They may care for me, or even be fond of me, but they don’t love me, at least I’m not sure they do. And the only reason I’m not convinced is because they can’t bring themselves to begin their sentence with a subject. The difference between love and a something-less-than-love is the difference between a complete sentence and a fragment.
It could be worse, though. They could use “love ya,” which is meaningless and a throwaway line if there ever was one. And don’t even get me started with the vacuous “luv ya.”
So if you want to know for certain how that person really feels about you, all you have to do is count to three. Sure, it’s only one letter. But it speaks volumes.