Everyone has their own way of texting. There are those people who make sure that they don’t have ANY grammar errors or punctuation errors in their messages. Then there are those who literally could not care less and even use emojis to get their point across.
But for those who like to make sure all the letters at the beginning of their sentences are capitalized and all their periods are in the right spots, this study might interest you. Or disappoint you. It can honestly go either way.
According to a 2016 study, using all types of “proper” punctuation, with periods and all, in text messages actually comes off as insincere, apparently. Personally, when someone uses a period at the end of their sentences, I take it as them being annoyed or upset. But that might just be me.
Now, it’s kind of odd that something so minor like a period might come off as a bit offensive, but hey, anything is possible with technology these days. The study also makes some pretty strong arguments to show that they are actually onto something.
They wrote, “In formal writing, such as what you’d find in a novel or an essay, the period is almost always used grammatically to indicate that a sentence is complete”.
They continued, “With texts, we found that the period can also be used rhetorically to add meaning. Specifically, when one texter asked a question (e.g. I got a new dog. Wanna come over?)…”
Researchers noted that how the person responded to the question makes a huge difference with the period. Even adding an exclamation mark instead of a period changes the entire tone of the response.
Researchers have also added that spoken conversational cues and written correspondence that aren’t texts have completely different rules than SMS convos.
Poor punctuation, a ton of punctuation marks and letters are perfect for texting because people work hard in conveying a certain tone and a specific kind of emotion. Using perfect grammar won’t help. At all.
They write, “In contrast with face-to-face conversation, texters can’t rely on extra-linguistic cues such as tone of voice and pauses, or non-linguistic cues such as facial expressions and hand gestures”.
You can head to the Binghamton University website if you’re curious to read more on this particular research study. Can you relate to the idea that formal texts send a negative message? Or do you think this study is overanalyzing?