The period is dead. Punctuation is over. Run-on sentences and incomplete thoughts are the new standard. Do I sound insincere? Maybe it’s because proper grammar is now being associated with insincerity, at least when it comes to texting.
As it turns out, science has now confirmed that your passive-aggressive habit of ending one-word texts with periods to quietly express your anger (“k.” “fine.” “cool.”) isn’t as passive as you think. According to new research published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, texts that end with a period are rated as less sincere than those that do not. Great.
Led by Binghamton University’s Celia Klin, a team of researchers asked a group of 126 college undergrads (a small sample size, to be sure, but likely quite representative of the most active texting demographic) to look at a series of both texts and handwritten notes. Common one-word responses like “yeah,” “sure,” “ok,” and the like were shown with and without periods. When participants were asked to judge the degree of sincerity of these notes, the researchers found that “the responses that ended with a period were rated as less sincere than those that did not end with a period.” However, this same discrepancy was not observed in handwritten notes.