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“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.A few years ago, Ben Crair at the New Republic wrote a hilarious history of the period in age of instant messaging.Poets have been using line breaks for basically forever.(In the right light, you might even say a text conversation has some of the same exuberant, associative, overlapping qualities of say, an e. cummings poem.) But we can credit the text and the IM for making the line break the default method of punctuation in the 21st century.“The period was always the humblest of punctuation marks,” he began.“Recently, however, it’s started getting angry.” Crair noticed that in his text conversations, the period had stopped serving any grammatical purpose.Instead, it was mostly being used to express a certain tone or emotion. The period has essentially become a stylistic device, which is a fascinating development because it recalls the freewheeling origins of Western punctuation. Later on, punctuation and spacing were added to help guide novice readers. Punctuation was largely an oratorical tool, a guide to help people read a text aloud.The poor mom or dad doesn’t understand one of the cardinal rules of texting, which is that you don’t use periods, period.
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.
A trend piece in the the New York Times on Friday touched on this fascinating development — which, incidentally, has been brewing for at least two decades, ever since kids were logging onto AOL Instant Messenger.
The period is no longer how we finish our sentences.
In texts and online chats, it has been replaced by the simple line break.
You just hit send Your words end up on a new line a visual indication that you have started a new sentence, phrase, clause, or unit of meaning Of course, this practice far predates the instant message.