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Forget Grammar: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t End Texts with a Period

Typing a new message on the iPhone on the background with a MacBook

Do you include a period at the end of sentences in a text message? If so, you should probably stop. Grammar police will hate it, but research suggests that text message responses to questions that end with a period can be perceived as less sincere, passive-aggressive, or in some cases, downright rude.

It’s not just in conversations with questions, either. Using a period at the end of any short sentence in a text message may come off wrong, especially when conversing with the younger generation.

A team of psychologists at Binghamton University in New York conducted a study among the school’s students regarding this matter. The results strongly suggest that ditching the period is the best course of action.

A big part of this is because texting resembles talking, thanks to the rapid back-and-forth exchanges. Each chat bubble is essentially a sentence, and you don’t need to end them with a period as you would on a piece of paper.

When it comes to texting, many perceive a period as a final act, like ending the conversation. Additionally, it’s more commonly used at the end of a sentence when someone is frustrated, unhappy, or wants to convey anger. The same thing goes for responding to a text with “k” instead of “ok” or “okay,” and the shortness of “k” makes the receiver think you’re angry.

According to Celia Klin, who led the research, “Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on. People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them — emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”

It’s all a bit interesting, but when it comes down to it, people don’t talk in complete sentences—they talk in utterances. We do the same thing in text messages, and using a period often puts an emotion on the message, and you probably didn’t even realize it.

Furthermore, the study shows signs that using exclamation points can make your messages seem more sincere than with no punctuation at all, and it’s better than using a period.

When using a period in a sentence, the context matters and some people punctuate out of habit. So, don’t jump to conclusions the next time you get a short reply with a period. But, at the same time, think about what you’re trying to communicate and how it might be perceived. Or, ya know, just stop using periods completely.

via Washington Post

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »