Teen Texting Tips: T-9 aka Predictive Texting Simplified

I'm a be y'all's bff and teach ya how to text. Not that silly tap tap tap through the number keypad which involves hitting the "2" button three times just to enter the letter "c", but the much more efficient predictive texting (aka T9 or one tap) method which you will learn to tolerate, and might even enjoy someday.

Way back in the stone age, when I got my first cell phone, I don't think they were even capable of texting, you know, sending those little typed messages from phone to phone. Really, it seemed a bit akin to going back to holding hands after being accustomed to kissing. Why would anyone want to type into a tiny phone at a much slower pace than they type on a keyboard? Especially when the whole point of having a cell phone is to be able to call anyone from anywhere- well almost. Depends on the tower locations.

How has texting become so popular? In my opinion, texting is kind of a hybrid of email and cell phone talking. Being a boomer, I think email is the next best thing to sliced bread, yes, I know that is trite, but nothing better came to mind. In fact, I am attempting to force out this tutorial while baking a custard pie, and I'd rather be reading last week's newspaper. If only the paper were written in text shorthand. We could probably read three times as fast as we speak. Some people do.

I remember learning in my Linguistics classes that we can hear and understand about 300 words per minute (wpm) but we comfortably converse at about 200 wpm. Maybe that explains why I freak out when I have three kids talking at 200 wpm at the same time. My brain can only process 300 wpm so that leaves 300 wpm unprocessed. So I am pretty darn near accurate when I tell them that I can only get about half of what they are saying, and I demand that they speak in turn if I need to hear what they are saying.

Books on tape are recorded at about 160 wpm, but most adults can read at about 300 wpm! When writing from memory in cursive, most folks can write about 31 wpm, but that drops down to 22 wpm while copying. It would be a miracle if my Buddha Boy could copy at half that rate. He has a terrible time copying from the board. He is doing better with his new glasses. But I swear that these Gen X kids can text at darn near 150 wpm. I guess if you're typing in abbreviations ( see the blue panel to the left) you can greatly enhance both your reading and writing speed. Wasn't there once a system called Shorthand?

What does all this mean? Why are we in such a hurry? Why do so many people seem to have the need to constantly be on their phones talking while driving, ordering fast food, shopping at the grocery store, watching a movie? Is it good for us to do all of this multi tasking? It ain't good for me. This 46 year old brain just can't do it anymore. But the youngsters? Sheesh! Computer Boy is most fulfilled while instant messaging 9 different friends, while eating Udon noodles with chopsticks, with music streaming from his machine, and petting the cat. I had a coworker who was able to text her phone buddies the entire time she was taking phone orders for insurance! She was pretty doggone smart and very technologically savvy.

So why is texting so popular? For one, it shares the benefit of email by being non intrusive. Folks can read and reply at their leisure. It is also silent if you want it to be. Other folks can't overhear what you're discussing- makes it an ideal medium for cheating. If you need to communicate with someone while at a fancy restaurant, texting is much less offensive than talking on your phone. You don't need to be by a computer to do it, and lastly, oftentimes when the phone is out of range, the texting mode still functions. I know this because I once had to pick up Computer boy from a Porter Ranch mansion, and when I knocked on the door, no one answered. I pulled out my handy dandy cell phone only to have no service. Viola- I was able to send him a text, and he materialized immediately! I think the next step to texting will be communicating by mental telepathy.

So after getting with it with my Myspace, I figured I had to tackle this texting phenomenon. I was able to master the multi tap. Had to in order to enter my contacts in my phone. But oh how painstakingly tedious. I noticed my phone had a setting for predictive texting, but I hadn't a clue as to how to use it. Heaven forbid I would have to get the manual out. That's even more tedious. I asked Computer boy for some text tech tips. Sadly to say, he was of no assistance, as he had circumvented the entire process by buying an iPhone with a qwerty keyboard, so he can type almost as fast as on a full sized keyboard. No need to learn the dreaded predictive text method. Darn! I gave it a stab and failed! My Samsung was not predicting what I wanted it to predict at all! I tried to type "stupid" and the letters came up p-u-t-s,,,,, Not at all what I was trying to type. It was so mystical and magical. How did the teeming masses master it?

This is where my wonderful sister in law once again came to my rescue. She is 2 years older but 50 years wiser than I, and I constantly consult her on matters like this. she laughed and said that she loved the predictive texting option, and that the people who designed it were geniuses. I asked her what the secret was, and she gave me my first demo. All I had to do was finish typing the word "stupid" and my phone would narrow the word options with each added letter. Had I simply finished typing the word, by the time I got to the "i", my phone would have determined that I was typing "stupid". But up until I got t the "i" it wasn't sure as there were several options! Who would have guessed? Well, I guess my phone could have.

I felt empowered with this knowledge. While on a business trip with my techie boss, she mentioned that she texts her kids when they are out with friends, as it is not as embarrassing as receiving a call from mom.Texting could be with a cool buddy, no one has to know it's mom. Phone calls are more revealing. she then taught me another trick, say you want to text the word "mom", Ironically, you have to enter 6-6-6 (really bad design!) and my phone displays "non". Well "non" and "mom" are worlds apart. techie Boss informed me that i simply had to tap the "0" button to scroll through a list of the next common word. So I shared that little pearl of wisdom with my sister in law. Oh we learn so much from each other.

I then decided this info was too valuable not to be shared with the faithful Muse readers. I did a bit of research, and landed on a fantastic T9 tutorial site which quickly taught me how to capitalize, punctuate, enumerate, add emoticons yadda yadda yadda. And I still don't know how to add the word :yadda: to my phone. Go to www.t9.com for the full tutorial. Expect to spend about 15 minutes learning to be an expert texter. But for now, a few plagiarized basics:

First of all, T9 stands for "Text on 9 keys". Your phone might refer to it as "Predictive Text" or "One Tap". Once mastered, you can text about twice as quickly than with multi tap. Most of the newer phones come pre loaded with it.

T9 software combines the groups of letters found on each phone key pad with a fast-access dictionary of words, and usually recognizes what you want to text as you type. T9 first offers the most commonly used word for the key sequence you enter and then lets you scroll through a list of other common word choices by pressing the "next" key. the "next" key is the zero button on a number of phones including mine and my boss's.

T9 Tips

1) You only need one key tap per letter.

2) Ignore the word displayed on the screen until you are done entering text (this is the part I did not know!) Since T9 tries to find matching words as you type, the word you are entering may change as you press each key.(I can't even fathom the programming necessary to make this work!)

3) If T9 displays a word that is not the one you're looking for, press the NEXT key to scroll through possible matches.

4) To punctuate, just hit the "1" key and T9 can predict which punctuation you want.. For example to add a period, type a 1 at the end of the word. To add an apostrophe, type a 1 in the middle of the word.. To get a question mark without changing modes, type a 1 at the end, and you will get a period. On my phone, I need to hit the down button to scroll through the different punctuation marks.

5) To capitalize in the middle of a word, or to type an acronym like FYI, just hit the * key to turn on Caps lock- hit it again to turn off caps lock.

6) To type a number, just press that number key and hold it down until the number appears. (who would have guessed?)

7) Okay, I just learned how to add a word. If you type a word T9 does not know, you should see a prompt to Add Word or Spell. My prompt appeared in the lower left of the screen. I missed this the first 6 times! Your phone will automatically switch to multi tap mode, you can enter the word, and then hit okay, and it should be added to the dictionary.

So that's enough to get you started. Visit the T9 site to become expert like I have. You can impress the less experienced Boomers.


Boredom Bingo- the game

B-1 Solve a Junior Jumble

B-2 Read National Geographic

B-3 Go for a walk

B-4 Brush the dog and cat

B-5 Listen to Gypsy Groove on mom's iPod and draw a musically inspired felt tip marker drawing. The entire page must be covered.

B-6 Play Solitaire

B-7 Ride the exercise bike

B-8 Look through the cookbooks and pick a recipe you would like to try

B-9 Take 10 digital photos

B-10 Organize your clothes drawers

B-11 Fold a load of laundry

B-12 Write a short story

B-13 Bake a batch of cookies

B-14 Call a friend

B-15 Watch the History channel

I-16 Do on-line research on the Civet and write 10 facts

I-17 Look at mom's Kaleidoscopes

I-18 look at old photos on the computer

I-19 paint a water color picture

I-20 pull weeds for dad

I-21 play super Mario

I-22 make a pattern block mosaic

I-23 play on-line chess

I-24 Read Incomplete Education and learn something new

I-25 take out all of the inside trash

I-26 send Grandpa an email

I-27 write a 1 page story about what you wish you could be doing instead

I-28 sculpt something out of modeling clay

I-29 shoot a short for You Tube on the video camera

I-30 Read the dictionary

N-31 wipe down the bathroom floors

N-32 Read from the Oscar Wilde anthology

N-33 go through Netflix and choose movies for the queue

N-34 Jump rope or pogo or run laps in the yard

N-35 Plan next weeks' dinners

N-36 practice juggling a soccer ball

N-37 roller blade or bike ride with mom

N-38 research the origin of glass and write a 1 page report

N-39 write out your next birthday wish list

N-40 Read 2 Grimm's Fairy Tales

N-41 write a list of 25 things you'd like to do before you pass on

N-42 Randomly select one of Dad's 2000 vinyl albums and listen to all of it

N- 43 Plan your wedding- flowers, colors, music, food etc. Write the key factors down

N- 44 Make up a joke- must write it down- must be funny

N-45 write a song about your favorite pet (you can use format from existing lyrics but change them around

G-46 Read the Bible

G-47 What job will you do to support yourself? What does it pay now? Internet research.

G-48 Design a birthday card on the computer and save the file to the desktop

G-49 Listen to David Bowie Ziggy Stardust and write a paragraph about how you feel afterwards

G-50 Practice on the piano keyboard

G-51 Internet research- What is Tumeric and how is it used? 1 page

G-52 Plan the ultimate vacation- where, how long, activities etc.

G-53 Read the Oprah Magazine cover to cover

G-54 Call a relative just to say "hello"

G-55 write down your 25 favorite dinners

G-56 solve the Soduku puzzle in the paper

G-57 walk to Rite Aid and buy an ice cream cone

G-58 draw your tennis shoes as best you can

G-59 What is phenylalanine, and why is it in diet soda? Internet research.

G-60 Read It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden

O-61 Play a Beatle's song on the Music Maker

O-62 Make a wine bottle rocket with backing soda, keenex, vinegar, string, and an empty wine bottle with a cork

O-63 sweep the kitchen and hall way

O-64 Get something out of your closet and entertain yourself with it - book, craft, etc.

O-65 If you were to invent something, what would it be? I page with drawing and description.

O-66 Write down the names of all of your family members from memory, Starting with Grandparents, parents, Aunts and Uncles, Cousins, Second Cousins.....

O-67 write down 40 different equations that equal 40- for example 41-1 = 40

O=68 Do 1000 jumping jacks- keep a tally of each 50

O-69 work on a puzzle

O-70 Make a card house

O-71 take a nap

O-72 count your money- what will you buy?

O-73 practice handball

O-74 make a necklace out of beads

O-75 write 25 things to do not on this list

July 7, 2008
Next Post date: August 4, 2008

And- doesn't anyone know a J. Davis who lost an iPod? Email Jewel if you do. See the July 07 archive.


Some commonly used acronyms on texting are:

* NGL: not guna lie
* 2: To or Too
* 4: For
* 4evr: Forever
* c:see
* cus: Because
* cuz: because or cousin
* ne1: Anyone
* ez: Easy
* b4: Before
* 2nite: Tonight
* brb: Be Right Back
* gtg or g2g: Got To Go
* ttyl: Talk To You Later
* cyl: See You Later
* bfd: Big Fucking Deal
* btw: by the way
* bbl: Be back later
* idk: I Don't Know
* idc: I Don't Care
* lol: Laugh(ing) Out Loud
* rofl: Rolls On Floor Laugh(ing)
* lq2ms:Laugh(ing) quietly to myself
* stfu: Shut The Fuck Up
* omg: Oh My God (or Gosh)
* omfg: Oh My Fucking God
* lmao: Laugh(ing) My Ass Off
* lmfao: Laugh(ing) My Fucking Ass Off
* lylas: Love you like a sister
* lylab: Love you like a brother
* k or kk: Okay
* jk: Just Kidding
* jp: Just Playing
* jw: Just Wondering
* wth: What The Hell
* wtf: What the Fuck
* 143 or <3: I love you
* luv: love
* ily: I Love You
* w/e: Whatever
* ttly: Totally
* ttfn: Ta Ta For Now
* w8: Wait
* h8: Hate
* l8: Late
* l8r: Later
* ty: Thank You
* thnks, thnx, or thx: Thanks
* r: Are
* u: You
* y: Why
* ppl: People
* 4nd: Friend
* qt: Cutie
* zzz: Sleeping, Bored, Tired
* HHRT: Hit Hard Right Through
* IMO: In My Opinion
* BFF: Best Friend Forever
* FYI: For Your Information
* kwim: know what i mean?
* n: and
* afk: away from keyboard
* bak: back at keyboard
* WDYMBT: what do you mean by that

Abbreviation Meaning

I found these on www.webopedia.com

Numbers & Characters
? I have a question
? I don't understand what you mean
?4U I have a question for you
;S Gentle warning, like "Hmm? what did you say?"
^^ Meaning read line or message above
<3 Meaning sideways heart (love, friendship)
<33 Meaning heart (more 3s is a bigger heart)
@TEOTD At the end of the day
.02 My (or your) two cents worth
121 One-to-one (private chat initiation)
1337 Leet, meaning 'elite'
143 I love you
14AA441 One for all, and all for one
19 Zero hand (online gaming)
20 Meaning 'location'
1DR I wonder
20 Meaning 'location'
2G2BT Too good to be true
2MI Too much information
2MOR Tomorrow
404 I don't know
411 Meaning 'information'
420 Lets get high
420 Meaning "Marijuana"
459 Means I love you (ILY is 459 using keypad numbers)
4COL For crying out loud
4EAE Forever and ever
4NR Foreigner

I have a comment
? I have a question
@TEOTD At The End Of The Day
\M/ Heavy Metal Music
^5 High Five
^RUP^ Read Up Please
^URS Up Yours
<3 Heart
02 Your (or my) two cents worth
1174 Nude club
121 One to one
1337 Elite
143 I love you
14AA41 One for All and All for One
182 I hate you
19 0 hand
20 Location
2B or not 2B To Be Or Not To Be
2BZ4UQT Too Busy For You Cutey
2G2B4G Too Good To Be Forgotten
2G2BT Too Good To Be True
2moro Tomorrow
2nite Tonight
2U2 To You Too
404 I haven't a clue
411 Information
420 Marijuana
459 I love you
4COL For Crying Out Loud
4EAE ForEver And Ever
4ever Forever
4NR Foreigner
4Q F*** You
5FS 5 Finger Salute
8 Oral sex
831 I Love You
86 Out of, over, to get rid of, or kicked out
9 Parent is watching
99 Parent is no longer watching
A/S/L/P Age/Sex/Location/Picture
A3 Anyplace, Anywhere, Anytime
AAAAA American Association Against Acronym Abuse
AAF As A Friend
AAK Asleep At Keyboard
AAMOF As A Matter Of Fact
AAMOI As A Matter Of Interest


ATSL Along The Same Line
ATST At The Same Time
ATW All the Web -or- Around the Web
ATWD Agree That We Disagree
AWC After While, Crocodile
AWGTHTGTTA Are We Going To Have To Go Through This Again
AWHFY Are We Having Fun Yet?
AWLTP Avoiding Work Like The Plague
AWNIAC All We Need Is Another Chair
AWOL Absent Without Leave
AWTTW A Word To The Wise
AYC Aren't You Clever -or- Aren't You Cheeky
AYCE All You Can Eat
AYK As You Know
AYOR At Your Own Risk
AYSOS Are You Stupid Or Something
AYTMTB And You're Telling Me This Because
AYV Are You Vertical?
B&F Back and Forth
B/C Because
B4 Before
B4N Bye For Now
B4U Before You
B4YKI Before You Know It
BAC Bad Ass Chick
BAG Busting A Gut -or- Big Ass Grin
BAK Back At Keyboard
BAMF Bad Ass Mother F***er
banana Penis
BARB Buy Abroad but Rent in Britain
BAU Business As Usual
BB Be Back
BB4N Bye Bye for Now

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