"They’ve got some rude awakenings coming": Your views on the use of the humble full stop

Years ago it was simply the signifier of the end of a sentence - an instruction to take a breath and pause before ingesting the next line of information.

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 3:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 3:22 pm

But, in the internet age, the full stop punctuation mark could actually be having an adverse effect on youngsters.

“If you send a text message without a full stop, it’s already obvious that you’ve concluded the message,” said Dr Lauren Fonteyn, an assistant professor at the Netherlands’ Leiden University studying language change.

“If you add that additional marker for completion, they will read something into it and it tends to be a falling intonation or negative tone,” said Dr Fonteyn.

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Years ago it was simply the signifier of the end of a sentence

'If this is true, they’ve got some rude awakenings coming.'

Point missed. David Crystal’s explanation is more the thing - it’s that full stops have garnered extra meaning - in text messaging, their usage and therefore how they are understood, has changed. Not that a simple full stop is freaking anyone out.

Lisa Bower

Erm, except that’s exactly what the article says that young people are offended by full stops and find them aggressive. You seem to be the one missing the point.

John Whitehouse

I think I have a phobia, when reading texts/posts/emails with no punctuation or awful grammar it actually makes me cringe.

Ruth Smythe

I’m sure this can’t be true if it is, they’ve got some rude awakenings coming.

Yvonne Hammond

No. It means the end of a sentence. Like this.

Sarah Jacques

Came across a similar article in a literary journal, it suggested that communication technology outpaced our language’s rate of adaptability for much of the late 20th century. What we are experiencing now is a “rubber band effect” where a generation comfortable using the technology is quickly adapting language to allow them to express themselves on it.

Paul Leach

I think the emoji has replaced standard punctuation in online speech because it allows a greater field of emotional expression. I’d argue that online messaging is closer to face to face speech than written discourse and the youths have adapted the use to conform to a new use. The clever little blighters (colon, close brackets)

Mark Marsden

I think I understand the point that is being made here - that the usage of full stops has changed. Language, is, of course, always evolving, but surely the concept of a grammatical full stop is not something which can be considered aggressive. Grammar is not aggressive, it is there to help people understand meaning. Er, full stop. No offence.

Helen Dempster

It will be interesting to see how much of today’s text language and emojis survive in the longer term. Our language is enriched by history - many of our best known sayings go back to Shakespearian times. Will the dog poo emjoi last the course?

Martin Leadbetter