3 Grammar *Rules* Millennials Break That Drive Boomers Crazy

*ur* not gonna believe this

A millennial and a boomer laugh over a text exchange.
AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

As a writer, I value grammar, spelling, syntax, diction—all that jazz. But as a millennial, I’m programmed to understand that if I use a gratuitous apostrophe within a possessive “its,” I can update my article within seconds. (Clear that cache, baby.) Boomers, on the other hand, do not seem to be as easily sated by a CMS refresh. In fact, once in a while I’ll get a 911-drop-what-you’re-doing call from my mom only to realize the “emergency” is a missing comma in one of my stories. (Thank you, Mom.) So what other grammar rules do millennials break that drive boomers up the wall? Here, three examples—and explanations—of the millennial vs. boomer grammar wars. Ready thine Strunk and Whites!

1. Playing Around with Format, Spelling and Punctuation for EFFECT(!)

Millennials were the first generation to use texting in place of phone calls en masse. And we adapted to the form by adding visual emphasis where vocal fluctuation once worked. Even though boomers use text all the time now, they didn’t come of age evolving the lingo themselves. This is a generation that diagrammed sentences and took grammar SERIOUSLY. Which is why a text exchange between a millennial and boomer may look like:

Millennial: I’m SO TIRED!
Boomer: Is your caps lock stuck?

2. Missing or Gratuitous Letters and Punctuation

From there, millennials got even more creative with the form, purposely misspelling words or using shorthand in order to convey tone, irony and mood. For instance, a millennial who’s just complaining about how tired they are might play around in lowercase, minimal punctuation and gratuitous letters to indicate a lackadaisical malaise not directed at anyone in particular (how oh-so millennial). Again, a boomer who dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s throughout their education might be rightfully confused by a text exchange like:

Millennial: im sooo efffffing tiredddd
Boomer: Clearly.

3. Using Non-Gendered Pronouns

For lots of boomers, replacing he or she with they/them pronouns is not a wokeness issue; it’s a grammatical issue. After all, if you spent K through 12 being penalized for swapping in a plural pronoun for a singular one, you’d probably be triggered by millennials’ (and gen Z’s for that matter) ease at subbing in one for the other too.

Boomer: How’s Janice doing?
Millennial: they’re so tired
Boomer: Pardon?
Millennial: TIRED
Boomer: Who else is tired though?
Millennial: Janice
Boomer: You said ‘they’re’
Millennial: JANICE IS NB DAD
Boomer: no biggie?
Millennial: omg non binary
Boomer: Oh, gotcha. (no biggie hehehehe)
Millennial: literally stop
Boomer: Fine, I’ll kick you off the family plan
Millennial: jc i was kidding
Boomer: I’m not. Good luck!

Grammar Shaming Is Not Only Rude, It’s Just Straight-Up Outdated


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...