The Hateful Full Stop
There are several reasons why you shouldn’t use full-stops on your social media posts and texts…
In Poland they even have a term for it: “kropka nienawiści” (it means “dot of hate”)
In the same way that you shouldn’t use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS on posts and texts — because FULL CAPS is like the sender is yelling (we don’t need more yelling in our lives, do we?) — the full stop (or period, if that’s your bag) is about closing communication. If you use it, readers will ask: Why are they closing dialogue down? Don’t they like me? Don’t they want me to reply? Why don’t they want to open it up?
If you’re over forty, you may not “get” this, but it’s true, nonetheless. If you think about it, the words on a page (or screen) are just code. The end point of a statement or a command is a dot (written in code). If you don’t think of it that way (perhaps because you have been taught to respect “good old English grammar”) you might have to adjust your point of view…
Once you recognise that stopping dialogue with a dot on a page has immense power and is all about control, restraint and containment, you will understand how coercive and confrontational a dot on a screen can seem (to some).
Please note that I am not for a moment recommending that you abandon grammar in your formal written work. But is it sacrilege to live without full-stops when thumbing out a one-liner or delivering a speedy post?
I’m like you, I prefer good grammar. I think rules clarify things. However, you can ditch the full stop in the following examples:
* A full-stop ending means the termination of conversation. Is this how you want to leave things? If you want the conversation to continue, don’t turn it off by using a stop! A stop is like saying “end of”
* A full stop means end of to a Gen Z reader. She or He will interpret this as snappish. Did you mean to come over tetchy?
* If there is only one sentence in the message box, you may leave it unpunctuated
* If you finish a one-line post or text with an emoticon, you don’t need a punctuation as well 😃
* When reading (aloud) we use a point for pauses. If it’s a one-line speech, we won’t need a long pause at the end, right?
* A full stop goes at the end of a complete idea, but if there is only one complete idea to read, why is it necessary?
Words: @neilmach 2020 ©
Fancy polishing up your communication skills? Neil shares tools, tips and advice for voicing and expressing on social media on his weekly Max Expressificity podcast