All grammar rules you’ve heard regarding periods just got thrown out the window, at least when it comes to texting.
There’s a reason why messaging “lol.” just doesn’t seem like as gut-busting a laugh as “lol” sans period.
And then there’s:
Or the dreaded, “K.” Period.
Even, “Love you.” Period.
It’s not your imagination if that tiny character on the end of these messages makes the overall impression seem a little off-putting and abrupt to you.
According to a recent study entitled “Texting insincerely: the role of the period in text messaging,”
messages that include a period at the end are perceived as less sincere then messages that omit a period.
Celia Klin, a psychology professor at Binghamton University in New York and lead researcher on the study, wanted to see if punctuation has grown from just communicating pace and speech, to communicating tone and mood.
Her team had 126 undergrad students read 16 hypothetical conversations that took place either via text and through handwritten notes.
The exchanges started with an invitation, such as “Dave gave me his extra tickets. Wanna come?” Followed by a one-word acceptance — “sure, yup, yeah, OK” — either with a period or without.
Most of the participants said that the texts ending in a period seemed insincere, but this wasn’t the case when it came to the handwritten notes.
"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."
Now that conversations stream across our mobile screens at rapid-fire speed, it comes close to oral speech, but it’s easier to be misunderstood through text messaging than through an in-person conversation.
A well-known study on communication notes that only seven per cent of your meaning is conveyed through words. The rest comes across through tone of voice, pitch, rate of speech, facial expression, posture, hand gestures and more.
“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," Klin said in a news release.
For example, her team also found that exclamation points actually read as more, rather than less, sincere.
So don’t fret if you think you’re over-using emojis, all caps or excessive letters. They’ll help make sure your message comes across crystal clear — without seeming like a jerk.
Also on HuffPost