Why You Should Never End a Text with a Period

posted: 12/09/15
by: Mara Betsch

Whether we like it or not, there are rules of texting: Never, ever respond with "K," don't text someone to make sure they received a previous text, don't send texts that are 10 sentences long, and never end your text with a period, at least according to a recent study published in Computers in Human Behavior.

The researchers asked 126 undergraduates to read short exchanges (both in texts and written notes) in which the response either did or did not include a sentence-ending period. For text messages, the responses that ended with a period were rated as less sincere than those that were open-ended. Interestingly enough, the handwritten notes didn't appear to see the same effect.

If you think about it, it's pretty easy to read tone in a significant other's text that says "Fine." A face-to-face conversation, however, allows you to gauge meaning based on a person's expression and mannerisms, as well as their actual words.

"Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on," Celia Klin, associate professor of psychology, associate dean at Binghamton University's Harpur College, and lead researcher on the study, said in a press release. "People obviously can't use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them -- emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation."

So what's a grammar-loving texter to do? Try a exclamation point or, better yet, an emoji to let the person receiving the text know exactly what you mean. And, when in doubt, be sure to follow these social media habits of happy couples.