How Texting Is Changing English

Think texting is all about making things shorter? Think again! Texters have created a new English conjunction—”slash”—and they spell it out instead of using the punctuation mark.

Mignon Fogarty
8-minute read
Episode #366

Interesting Comments I Have Received but Have Not Confirmed

Mike Boyle made this comment on Twitter: kk doesn't = OK, it's 'OK cool,' very common in Singapore / China as OK = k and cool = 'ku' (?) = k.

D.M.  wrote, "In your podcast titled 'How Texting Is Changing English,' you brought up the use of 'kk.' I've been using this for the longest time, but for the life of me, I can't recall where I picked it up. It might have something to do with aviation, based on a theory of origin I've heard.

One origin story I've heard is that it comes from military pilots. Bear with me here. Military pilots, or any pilot really, have to focus on brevity when on the radio. It is said that to acknowledge that something over radio was said, the pilot would cycle their microphone on and off twice, which produced a 'click click' sound. This  was then somehow translated to text as 'kk.'

I used to be an avid flight simulator fanatic and I believe I picked up this 'kk' from a community focused on military flight simulators approximately 10 years ago. The use has been around for quite some time and I have also run into it in online gaming as well. Always used to acknowledge or let the narrator know that they were heard and understood. I find that 'ok' is more for accepting, whereas 'kk' is more like "roger, understood."

I hope this helps you with some insight on a possible origin and its use versus 'ok.' "

Other Articles About "Slash"

More Thoughts On the Nonstandard Uses of “Slash” (Dictionary.com)


Tao Chen and Min-Yen Kan (2012). Creating a Live, Public Short Message Service Corpus: The NUS SMS Corpus. Language Resources and Evaluation. Aug 2012. [doi:10.1007/s10579-012-9197-9] [ Local copy (.pdf) ]

Here's an example of "slash" spoken aloud from a 2017 New York Times article:


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.