Sunday, December 4, 2011

How punctuation can change the meaning of your text

Why do some people obsess over getting punctuation on their text so precise? And is it different for different age groups? Why do some adults insist on spelling out everything, while others go the opposite route and insist on making up their own abreviations.

The truth is, punctuation on a text affects the whole meaning of the message. Here's a test to prove my point: Say the following outload to yourself and see how your voice change!

See! Punctuation is some important over text, because it actually changes the entire meaning, depending on who you're talking too. With friends, extra exclamation points are always ok, but I would never say "thanks." unless I was angry or frustrated or something.

On the other hand, why do some people add extra letters to words on texts and on facebook? Why does hi become hiii which becomes HAYYYY GURLLL? What is that? They all mean completely different things, though, that is clear. When we are texting or online, we try our best to imitate the exact inflection in our voices by phonetically writing out words the way we want to say them in person. But does that work? Can I spell out my voice inflection, and then will you really read it to yourself the same way I would have said it to you?

When people wrote letters to eachother (I say wrote, but I'm sure some people still do write letters...) they would usually write out everything in proper English, right (write?)? I mean, you'll never find a letter between your grandparents that says hiiii how are you?!?!?! That just wouldn't be normal! But today, seeing that in a text or a facebook message wouldn't be completely out of the ordinary. It's so weird!

Or how about when you're texting someone for the first time. Do you try to use correct punctuation only, or do you add some letters here and there to sound informal? What if you don't know the person very well? Do you only use as few words as possible? Is it less awkward just to get it over with and call the person?

And please, can someone tell me the correct etiquette involving smiley faces?

Such as do you use them? What about a winky face? Usually I like to send backwards smilies if I use them at all, because smart phones automatically turn them into little yellow faces, when all I want to appear is :)

The truth is, texting is still so new to us as a society that I don't think there's general ettiquette yet. It's really between you and the person you text. But head my warning: sending Thanks!! and thanks... are completely different, and one can make you sound like a total B#$%^.


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