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Nearly half of mobile phone users want a guide on 'text etiquette', a study by research company YouGov has found.

The study, carried out for predictive text software provider Tegic Communications, shows that of the 2,680 mobile phone users polled 44 per cent would approve of a guide to 'text etiquette'.

Text shorthand is not popular, the survey found, and is only used by 13 per cent of all mobile users, but 23 per cent of 18-29 year olds admit to using it. 54 per cent of respondents said that messages in shorthand were "difficult to understand", with 41 per cent seeing text messages as "sloppily written". Seventy Seven per cent would oppose the inclusion of common text abbreviations in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Text messaging is however seen as a useful way to communicate: 56 per cent of those surveyed have wished someone a merry Christmas via SMS. 70 per cent have used text to say 'happy birthday'. Women are more prolific than men, with 46 per cent admitting to gossiping using SMS compared to 34 per cent of men. Women send 19 text messages a week compared to men's 15.

Text messaging appears to have become the language of love for some, with 56 per cent of 18-29 year olds saying they have flirted using text. 19 per cent said they have texted a partner to say "I love you" for the first time, but only one per cent have proposed via SMS. 10 per cent said that they had used text messaging to end a relationship.

SMS is becoming more popular in the workplace, the study shows. 17 per cent of employees surveyed used a text message to say that they would be late, and seven per cent have 'texted in sick'.

The study also found that predictive text input software is popular, with 41 per cent of 18-29 year olds who use the software saying they couldn't do without it. ®

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