Just when I was getting used to the idea that it is wrong to put two spaces after a period at the end of sentence (one space is the correct amount of spaces, though I don’t always abide by this rule) the period has come back to haunt me. Grammar, always a fascinating topic in my house, was once again in the news, and this new rule regarding text messages was really news to me.
I heard it on the Today show first, while sipping my morning coffee: You should NEVER use a period at the end of a text message. Huh?
Apparently, putting a period at the end of your text message is a “truly monstrous” thing to do.
Those are Rachel Feltman words in her recent article in the Washington Post, She went on to say, “…Grammar be darned, it just doesn’t look friendly.” Aw, not friendly?
This is big news. Very big. Or as the Donald might say, it’s HUGE. But only if you are a frequent text messenger, as I am, and realize you have been doing it wrong for days, months, years. Where have I been? Why didn’t I know this?
Apparently, studies have confirmed what everyone (or everyone but me, and probably you) knew already. Researchers from Binghamton University reported that text messages ending with a period “are perceived as being less sincere, probably because the people sending them are ‘heartless.’”
For text messages at least, periods are out, but exclamation points are in. Researchers found that exclamation points (which I always felt were totally overused, especially by me) may make your messages seem more sincere than no punctuation at all.
Why didn’t someone tell me this years ago? I have learned a lot of things from the kids—most recently about Hot men and baby kittens on tumbler and Women Laughing Alone Eating Salad (what do these women find so funny about their salad?) but was there an important family hold back? Did they joke about this behind my back? “Ha ha, did you read mom’s text? Did you see her tone?!” Could they be so heartless?
I called my youngest daughter:
“Did you know that you weren’t supposed to use a period at the end of a text message?” I asked her.
“Legally or socially?” She almost always answers a question with a question.
“Socially. I know it’s not against the law.” I said this with a tone. No period necessary.
“Of course. That’s general texting etiquette.”
“I use periods all the time.”
“I know. It makes you always seem very serious. You also write in full sentences, which is kind of funny.”
“It’s not a big deal. I just assume you don’t really mean your tone.”
I have now spent a few hours going back over my past text messages. I almost always use periods, especially with the kids:
“I love you.”
“I miss you.”
“You are awesome.”
No wonder they don’t write back. I have a tone. I don’t mean to have a tone, but I do. From now on, it’s all exclamation points!!!
I went back to look at some of my recent text conversations with friends to analyze whether they were being sincere or bitchy. I had sent a few friends pictures of my new, short pre-chemo haircut. “Do you like it?” I asked. A few friends responded with appropriate exclamation points.
“It’s gorgeous! You do look young hip and sexy!”
“You look hot!”.
But one friend….I’m not so sure. She texted:
“It’s adorable.” “I think the short hair may be a keeper.”
Periods. Two of them. What a heartless bitch.