I Stopped Using Exclamation Points and Lost All My Friends

Excerpt from this article:

In a new-year, new-me effort to conserve my emotional energy, I decided to scrub my correspondence of punctuational loudness, to go on what I called a deep exclamation point cleanse. The Goop de grammar. My goal was one month of zero bangs on email, text, social media, Slack, dating apps, letters (yes, letters), notes to my roommates—everything.

It started well enough. The first day, I awoke feeling superior—morally, intellectually, spiritually. I no longer relied on a pedestrian symbol to express excitement or mask anxiety. When the first text rolled in, a thank you for a dinner party I hosted the night before, it was no sweat. “Oooooo are you kidding????” I replied. “You were a DELIGHT.” If I couldn’t have exclamation points, I would have question marks. AND I WOULD YELL.

Without exclamation, I lost warmth and tonality. No one knew what I meant anymore.

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Why Everyone on Tinder Is an ‘Oxford Comma Enthusiast’

A series of hearts separated by commas

Excerpt from this article:

On an internet occupied by as many finger-wagging “grammar Nazis” as slovenly texters who prefer emoji to verbal displays of emotion, the Oxford comma has become a cause célèbre. This is especially true on dating apps, where many users have deemed the punctuation mark something they “can’t live without”—a designation that’s put it in the same lofty category as cheese, the beach, and Game of Thrones.

Also known as the serial comma, the Oxford comma is the one that goes before “and” (or “or”) in a list of three or more things: “The American flag is red, white, and blue.” Fans of the Oxford comma think it prevents ambiguity.

Recently, the Oxford comma has found a spot on the Bingo card of online-dating profiles, alongside mainstays like “no hookups,” “no drama,” and “420 friendly.” Whether you’re mindlessly grazing on Tinder or Bumble, OkCupid or Match.com, you’re now as likely to learn someone’s thoughts on the Oxford comma as you are their job title or their penchant for tacos. On the Tinder subreddit, which has 1.8 million subscribers, one user lamented that the Oxford comma features in “like a quarter of bios ’round my parts.” Another said, “It’s everywhere.”

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Men and women hold placards bearing an exclamation mark

Excerpt from this article:

How many exclamation points does it take to exclaim something? One, a human of sound mind and a decent grasp of punctuation might say. The exclamation point denotes exclamation. That is its point. One should suffice.

But, on the internet, it often doesn’t. Not anymore. Digital communication is undergoing exclamation-point inflation. When single exclamation points adorn every sentence in a business email, it takes two to convey true enthusiasm. Or three. Or four. Or more.

The Internet Tilde Perfectly Conveys Something We Don’t Have the Words to Explain

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Excerpt from this article:

The tilde, though, seems to have bypassed that problem. “If I say that your question is wonderful, you’re going to interpret it as the most common meaning,” explained linguist Michelle McSweeney, a researcher at Columbia University. “But if I say that it’s ~wonderful~, you understand that I don’t mean the boring, old meaning of wonderful.”

If there were such a thing as “visual onomatopoeia,” the tilde would definitely be it. The tilde looks like what it means — like it’s shrugging, or swaying in the breeze, like it sorta knows, ish.

Judging Others by Their Email Tics

Excerpt from this article:

…Sure, there was a time it may have been appropriate, even cool, to tout the default “Sent from my iPhone,” a programmed plug-in (and a genius little bit of branding). But these days, that one-liner signals only one thing: bore. So instead, you must come up with something witty. “Sent from a bumpy tarmac,” you might write, followed by a custom GIF. “Envoi de mon iPhone,” if you want to be fancy (and French).

…And so goes the tyranny of judging one another by the minutiae of our email tone. I’m not just talking signoffs like “cheers” or “thanks” (which, for what it’s worth, have prompted a debate of their own). I’m talking next-level nuance: a well-placed emoji, a perfectly timed GIF; what microseconds between replies say about the sender.

“This isn’t just email, this is identity,” said Hilary Campbell, a 25-year-old cartoonist in Brooklyn. “I feel like I’m always trying to balance this sense of being a smart, sensible, reliable person who is also very FUN and quirky.”

…Research has found that when parties are getting along, they tend to mimic each other’s subtle speech patterns: “language synchrony,” as it is known. In which case, if I email with proper capitalization, and you reply with an all-lowercase email, should I be taking offense? “That’s a classic power move,” the digital strategist Victor Pineiro said. “You can’t be bothered to craft a properly capitalized email?”

 

Why we should stop using full stops – period

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Excerpt from this article (and see this post for the New York Times’s take on it as well):

Have you ever watched parents try to text with their children? One hilarious type of misunderstanding goes like this:

Parent: I am waiting for you in the car.

Child: r u mad?

Parent: I am not mad.

Parent: I am telling you I am waiting.

Child: what?????

The poor mom or dad doesn’t understand one of the cardinal rules of texting, which is that you don’t use periods, period. Not unless you want to come off as cold, angry or passive-aggressive…

The period, meanwhile, has become the evil twin of the exclamation point. It’s now an optional mark that adds emphasis — but a nasty, dour sort of emphasis. “It is not necessary to use a period in a text message, so to make something explicit that is already implicit makes a point of it,” Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley, told the New York Times.

Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style

“We are at a momentous moment in the history of the full stop,” said David Crystal, who has written more than 100 books on language Credit Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Excerpt from this article:

The period — the full-stop signal we all learn as children, whose use stretches back at least to the Middle Ages — is gradually being felled in the barrage of instant messaging that has become synonymous with the digital age

…The conspicuous omission of the period in text messages and in instant messaging on social media, he says, is a product of the punctuation-free staccato sentences favored by millennials — and increasingly their elders — a trend fueled by the freewheeling style of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter

…“In an instant message, it is pretty obvious a sentence has come to an end, and none will have a full stop,” he added “So why use it?”

In fact, the understated period — the punctuation equivalent of stagehands who dress in black to be less conspicuous — may have suddenly taken on meanings all its own

Increasingly… the period is being deployed as a weapon to show irony, syntactic snark, insincerity, even aggression

If the love of your life just canceled the candlelit, six-course, home-cooked dinner you have prepared, you are best advised to include a period when you respond “Fine.” to show annoyance