Punctuation Hurts My Feelings

My friend, GG, wrote me the other day. She works in a university library and spends a lot of time with students. She told me she just found out that she’s some kind of passive aggressive witch because she punctuates her texts.

As you can imagine, I was intrigued. I asked for more information.

She said that she had read an article about how adding periods to the end of texts is seen as being short with someone or passive aggressive in some way. Since she works with so many young people, she brought it up at a meeting and reported back that she had “Opened up a whole can of worms.” It was, she said, definitely a thing. I was skeptical.

So I brought it up in MY meeting, where there were only three people. One person was me, the other was a woman my age and the last was a woman about 25 years our junior. I said, “Hey, I heard somewhere that you’re not supposed to punctuate texts. Have you guys ever heard that?” The woman my age looked at me like I had ten heads, but the younger one immediately rolled her eyes and said, “OMG I hate that!” So the other woman said, “Well, how are you supposed to know what the other person is saying if they don’t punctuate?”, and the younger woman said, “A text is not a book. It’s supposed to be short!”. I said, “OK, but why do you take offense to someone putting a period at the end of a sentence?”

“Because! It’s like they are ending the conversation! They are being short with me!”

”Oh”, I said.

I still don’t really get it but I’m sharing it in the interest of saving you all from unwittingly offending people with your smart phone. This is as mind-blowing as when I read that you are no longer supposed to add two spaces after a period. Nope. It’s just one space now. And if you put two spaces people will know you’re old. And they might say, “Ok Boomer”. But that’s a whole other thing. Google it. I dare you.

Chicken out

  6 comments for “Punctuation Hurts My Feelings

  1. Doug in Oakland
    November 7, 2019 at 2:49 am

    I don’t care. I punctuate texts anyway. Language is language. I don’t even have a smart phone and so have to go to a different screen for some punctuation, but I do it.
    Of course, the people I text expect it of me, so I don’t think I annoy them with it.
    Hell, I even spell “you” and “for” in my texts.
    Perhaps I’m beginning to fossilize, but lazy language has always bugged me a little. Maybe that’s because I was born in California barely a year after my family had moved from Oklahoma, and so learned to speak while my family was busy losing their southern accents.
    I wonder if any of us realized that California has an accent also?
    My mother was teased by her attorney bosses for her drawl, and so did a lot of correcting of our speech when we were little, and I can see her disapproving face in my mind when I hear someone say “I mean like…” or a dozen or so other verbal malfunctions.
    And you know what? Mom? THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU thank you thank you.
    My friend Jack used to say that your speech patterns, when repeated, become your thought patterns, and if you find yourself using a 25 word ghetto vocabulary, after a while you’ll find you have a 25 word ghetto mind.
    What that has to do with punctuating texts, I’m not quite sure, and maybe that’s more evidence that I’m getting old.


    • November 7, 2019 at 11:19 am

      Hi Doug, My high school English teacher, Mrs. Nicholas, was a transplant from Oklahoma. So melodic was her “drawl” that we hung on every word she said. It sure put our Maine accents to shame. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do with this new bit of information. I’ll probably have some fun with it and then forget about it. In my opinion, I’ve earned my right to punctuate anytime I want.


  2. Joanne Noragon
    November 7, 2019 at 2:59 am

    I have so manly grandchildren that I was informed of the punctuation problem. I decided this old specimen, who does manage a small amount of inheritance, will continue to use punctuation marks, and remark on the lack of same among a seemingly educated slice of the population.
    Then one day I discovered the microphone in my text box, and how it is used. Oh, the joy of rattling off a text, checking for accuracy, and hitting Send. But, how to deal with the damn punctuation! The “dots” are OK; I seem to get them in well enough. But the commas and semi-colons! My god, the utter lack of punctuation. I’m toying with adding a sentence at the end: Consider this note perfectly punctuated.


    • November 7, 2019 at 11:12 am

      I have not used the microphone. Sometimes I bring it up accidentally and then, instead of using it, I curse and spend five minutes trying to get rid of it. I do have a daughter who uses the microphone all the time. She does not check for accuracy.


  3. jenny_o
    November 7, 2019 at 3:09 am

    I don’t text, so that solves that problem. *dusts hands vigorously*

    Although, to be honest, I did read about that, so if I ever DO text, I’ll consider leaving out the period because it’s easier.

    Bye 4 now


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