Proper grammar be damned! Using a full-stop at the end of a WhatsApp message is poor etiquette according to an internet linguist.
Gretchen McCulloch is attempting to convince people that ending a sentence properly is rude and aggressive, in the context of instant messages.
“If a person uses a full stop all the time, it’s fine,” says McCulloch, who is promoting a book on the matter. “But if a person that doesn’t usually end their sentences with a full stop uses one, then it’s fair for someone to conclude that perhaps that person is mad at you.”
She added (via Telegraph): “Because the minimum thing necessary to send is the message itself, anything additional you include can take on an additional interpretation.”
LOL is also in the crosshairs of McCulloch who points out the various ways the indication you’re laughing out loud can be misconstrued. Of course we all have the auntie who uses it to mean “lots of love”, but it can also be considered sarcastic, according to the linguist.
She argues it “can also be used to soften things, diffuse awkward situations or brash statements, because sometimes the social situation calls for it”.
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McCulloch, who has written a book on how technology is changing language, is also cautioning people against using the wrong emojis. Now, this is something we can get on board with. A winking face could unintentionally be construed as flirting rather than joking. And don’t even get us started on the aubergine emoji.
She added: “The cold sweat emoji can also be misinterpreted because people use it to mean ‘awkward’ or ‘close call’, which is very similar to the grimace face that some use to convey a smile.”
We apologise for the use of full-stops in this post. We promise we’re not being rude or aggressive. We’re just trying not to get shouted at by our editor for using terrible English. Kthx.