You’ve probably seen memes like “Let’s eat grandma”, “Eat. You’re food” or “I find inspiration in cooking my family and my dog”, right?
Well, I’m OBSESSED with them, almost as much as I’m obsessed with typography and puns about kerning. Obsessed in a way that makes me wanna write the word in all caps. I’m the kind of person who, when receiving a badly spelled text, checks how close two letters are on the keyboard. I cannot go without correcting people when they mispronounce a word or when they’re just using stupid anglicisms that only exist in their imagination. I definitely judge people by the language they’re using and I don’t care how arrogant or how much of an asshole I can be when it comes to using the correct form. In short, I’m a grammar nazi.
As you can guess, I take punctuation pretty damn seriously. A missing comma can drive me mad. That’s why, in my writing, I love using all sorts of punctuation marks in abundance. However, sometimes I wish people just would use them less. I’ll explain.
So yesterday, a friend texted me because she had a question regarding a paper. I didn’t reply right away because I had other shit to do first, but I stuck a mental post-it on my brain so that I would not forget to text her back later that day. It’s a system that works pretty well. However, she apparently couldn’t wait to hear back from me and so she sent me this:
And I was immediately fed up. By a single question mark.
There may be some deeper issues to this, but everytime someone sends me The Single Question Mark, I’m getting actually offended. Like how does this person dare to think I have nothing else going on but reply to their text? Well I got news for you honey, the world doesn’t evolve around you, calm the hell down. Also, even if our texts are sent instantly – unless you’re using Google Hangouts, which is the Internet Explorer of messaging services – that still doesn’t mean you’re entitled to an instant response. I’ll get back to you when I get back to you. And sending me annoying question marks won’t make me text you back any faster. On the contrary, they make me feel way more inclined to tell you to fuck off.
Another punctuation monstrosity I often see in text messages is the ellipsis. In books or any other kind of prose, even in dramas and poems, the ellipsis can be a great stilistic device. But in text messages the three dots are actually super creepy. Take these two phrases:
I like children.
I like children…
The first one: just a normal statement.
But the second… creepy as hell! If someone sent me a text like that, I’d probably call Child Rescue Service. The three dots make everything sound like a sleazy ad on Craigslist. So can please someone explain to me why people carelessly garnish their DMs with a countless amount of ellipses?
And yes, I agree that you don’t write text messages the same way you’d write a letter. Does anyone still write letters btw? Or postcards? If you don’t, you should. Analog is the new cool. Anyway, if you’re overwhelmed with punctuation in text messages, just use emojis… and you might have a 50% chance of not coming across as creepy.
PS: My latest website discovery while searching for a featured image was Digital Synopsis. If you love creative stuff like digital design and typography, this will be your new drug.