11th December 2015

Punctuation in texts – what’s the big deal?

After reading an article recently about a survey by Binghamton University. looking at the use of punctuation in text messages, it got me thinking: can using (or not using) something as simple as punctuation make you come across as rude?

The University’s experiment consisted of 126 students reading a series texts that read: “Dave gave me his extra ticket. Wanna come?”. The so called receiver of the text then replied with a one worded reply such as “okay”, “yeah” or “sure”. Half of the participants gave a response with a full stop at the end, whereas the other half used no punctuation at all.

Upon questioning the students it was found that the responses with punctuation were perceived as more insincere or untrustworthy than the responses without a full stop at the end.

So why is using punctuation in a text message seen as rude? Surely everyone should be using the correct grammar in texts?

Face to face, expressions and tone of voice can help people recognise whether or not others are being sincere. In fact 93 per cent of communication is non-verbal, meaning when we text someone, we only have 7 per cent of our natural communication at our disposal – if that.

The result is that, when texting, we have to use whatever we can to convey our emotions, whether it’s emojis, incorrect spelling to mimic a speech sound, or punctuation.




Growing up in the digital age, I rarely use punctuation in my text messages (apart from to Mum or Dad, on occasion). Dare I put a full stop at the end of a sentence? Not if I want to keep the peace!

Whether using punctuation over text messages is a dying trait or not, using a full stop runs the risk of people thinking you’re annoyed at them.

But should using a full stop make you seem rude? Not in my opinion. And for those people who misinterpret it and think you’re angry with them, do you really care? Send them an emoji or two with the classic kiss and they’ll be right as rain again.


By Thomas Tanswell, social media apprentice