The end of a period

In the digital age, punctuation implies insincerity. That’s the conclusion of a study

Texts ending with a fullstop are perceived as less sincere. Ryan Carter / The National
Powered by automated translation

The full stop was always the humblest of punctuation marks. Not any more. A study has proved it. Apparently, it deceives. (Who knew?) Researchers at Binghamton University in New York have found that texts ending with a full stop are perceived as less sincere. But even if millennials may not like them, they do serve a purpose.

Imagine if the news of the day were relayed without punctuation in one long breathless sentence encompassing goings-on at home and abroad filled with subclauses not separated from the rest of the sentence then many readers would be turned off

Then again, every medium – the letter, email, Instagram, Snapchat – develops its own social norms, which can vary by communities. Teenagers and 30-somethings don’t write alike. The irony is that as messages transmitted become more complex, today’s youth have developed a greater ability to parse sentences that are increasingly marked by their brevity. No one, it seems, knows how to read more into a full stop – or an ill-chosen emoticon – than a teenager.