The Grammar of BBM

To Serve and Correct!
By Joseph Holder on 23 Jun 2011 10:52 am EDT

In these times of ever-shortening missives of 140 characters or less, people are cramming more and more information into less and less space. This shortening of words and phrases can lead to disastrous consequences. Take this text message for example, "n e ice cream left?" You'll notice that the person texting has used the exact same number of characters to type "n e" as he would have to type "any." This young texter now looks like a complete fool and faces banishment from his humble seaside village.

We of the Society of People Who Wish Everyone Could Just Use the Same Words but It's Probably Not Going to Happen Because Honestly? Who's Going to Listen to Us? Societies (it's a big society) have put together this handy guide to the proper use of the noun and verb forms of BBM.

BBM - Noun - acronym for BlackBerry Messenger, a highly popular messaging app exclusive to the BlackBerry smartphone

BBM - verb - to send a message via BlackBerry Messenger or to BlackBerry Message (where Message is a verb)

BBM'd or BBMd

Waiting for Beth

When speaking of sending messages via BlackBerry Messenger, it is important to use the correct punctuation and capitalization in order to make sure you are properly understood. For example, if you were speaking of a sending a BBM in the past, you could use a sentence such as "I BBM'd Beth yesterday, but she hasn't read my message yet."

Note the apostrophe and then "d" following the BBM. Rather than stating "I sent Beth a message using the BlackBerry Messenger application; it has not yet indicated that she has read said message," you can simply write "BBM'd Beth yesterday, but no R, just D"

The shift key and the apostrophe key are on entirely opposite sides of the keyboard. For some people, this pressing of two separate keys to produce merely a single character upon the screen is an almost Herculean feat. For these people, BBM'd can be shorted to BBMd. Please note that capitalization is key to this abbreviation as "BBMD" and "bbmd" are complete gibberish.

BBM'ing or BBMing

BBM'ing or BBM'ing with; there's a big difference 

Also of note is how to describe the actual act of sending and a BBM and/or having a full conversation over the messaging platform. In the sentence, "John is BBM'ing his wife before we go out for beers" this indicates that John is currently in the process of sending a message to his wife using the BBM application to message between the two BlackBerry smartphones, letting her know that he may be home from work a little late

The sentence "John is BBM'ing with his wife because we went out for beers" indicates that John neglected to tell his wife that he was going out with the guys and thus would be home late. The "with" indicates a conversation happening in real time between John and his wife. From the fierce typing and disappointed sighs, it would appear that John's wife has sent him pictures of her after dinner plans. Unfortunately, it appears Mrs. John now has a headache.

Again, as with BBM'd, BBM'ing can be shortened to BBMing. In rare cases where six characters are simply too many. BBMg can be substituted. Please note that anyone not reading this article will have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. BBM'ing your parents the phrase "BBMg BF tlk l8r" will almost certainly earn a lecture on how much college costs and/or the value of using real, actual words.

BBM'ing Multimedia


To speak or write about sending picture or video over BlackBerry Messenger uses a very similar grammar structure as sending a message. BlackBerry Messenger sends pictures, video, and audio in pretty much the same way as it sends text, thus the grammar needs only a slight adjustment.

Incorrect: John just sent me a text message with a picture of what his girlfriend was wearing last night. That was worth the 40 cents it cost to receive it!

Correct: Hunter just BBM'd me a pic of his girlfriend. I don't have to worry about text messaging charges or wait while the resized picture is reassembled from tiny pieces of no more than 160 bytes. Because pictures, audio, and video sent via BBM travel through the data network, I get the original picture. This is going on my wallpaper.

As you see, it is important to use good grammar even while shortening what we say. With constant vigilance, the world can be properly molded into shape, trained to use proper sentence structure in even the most trying of times. We of SPWWECJUSWIPNGHBH?WGLU?S thank you in advance for your support.

Topics: BBM Editorial

Reader comments

The Grammar of BBM


Ha, ha... Yeah, we are all ready to rock with the new devices but nothing yet. It gets a little frustrating but hey, I think (hope) RIMM learned their lesson about pushing out devices too early (i.e., Storm 1) so they want to get it right.
If the device is close to being as good as I think it is, I will forgive them. I love my Torch but even it gets the little clock from time to time so I hope with twice the power and more RAM that will become negligible.
I am looking forward to the new and 6% larger Bold keyboard.

Come on Jim and Mike! You can do it!

I'm sorry, I'm finding it hard to wrap around my head that you actually have to pay to receive SMS/MMS messages in the US. Is that for real?

Yes and no. If you don't have a messaging plan, then yes. However for the most part if you SMS frequently, you'll have a plan for $5/10 a month that covers everything you send and receive.

It's true. That's the reason I have all texting blocked and only use BBM. The first day I had my new BlackBerry I got about 30 consecutive spanish language texts each day, not knowing that I had to pay to receive them - until I got my bill which was about $50 higher than I expected.

This made me laugh...whoops, sorry, LOL. Someone should develop a guide to proper abbreviated messaging. IMHO.

Great post, plently of luls on the media part. It's a shame people who actually SHOULD read this post... Won't :(

Sorry Joe, but we understand you have no new BlackBerrys to talk about. Kevin's probably happy to not have to write stories like this, so we feel your pain!

I don't think it's grammatically correct to say BBM'ing - you're not subbing anything out so it doesn't make sense. It should be BBMing. I think 'BBM'd' is correct as 'd' is not an acceptable suffix (it would be 'ed' so BBMed), whereas 'ing' is acceptable, making BBMing acceptable.

LOL! Funny. I've called the actually messages I've sent BIM or BIMs since 2008. I got my friends with BBs saying it too. I like our lingo better. ;)

What cracks me up more is the that when people fill out comments about this article, they are still using short forms.

For example...ne1 care?

I understand using short forms when you are on Twitter but it doesn't take that much effort on a BB or on a computer to type out the complete word and sentence.

Great article.

You're thinking of Twitter. BBMs are not limited at all. You can send a novel-length BBM, if you would like.

Hmm, how about this,...and you read it here first! In stead of BBM'ing,...or BBMing,...or BBMg,..whatever, why not simply use these:

Beam = BBM,...use losely,...beam me! As in, send me a BBM!
Beaming = BBM'ing,...BBMing (The act of preparing/sending BBM msgs)
Beamed = Past tense,..."I beamed you the directions, did you get them?"
Beamer = Someone that uses BBM over SMS!

But wait, there are more:

PBeam me,...Please BBM me later!
PDBeam me,...Please Don't BBM me,....As in, PDBM,....Pls Don't BBM Me Again!
Beam Me Up! Lettings friends know you're awake,...and ready to receive/respond to BBMs.

Feel free to add yours.....


If people have issues with this, well, LOL at them. I usually type using full, complete words, instead of short forms, as it's quite annoying to try and decipher it. I even use normal typing and wording, proper grammer over SMS. Regardless of what device i'm on or using, short form is barely ever used, only if I need to desperately CRAM it into a small space. That is the only time it's ever even going to be used. But on here, normal uses and grammer everywhere, even on BBM. :)