"How and why did the period get so pissed off?"


Tue, Nov 26th, 2013 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

On the New Republic, Ben Crair looks at how the period evolved from a benign punctuation mark “to announce ‘I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded.’”

Say you find yourself limping to the finish of a wearing workday. You text your girlfriend: “I know we made a reservation for your bday tonight but wouldn’t it be more romantic if we ate in instead?” If she replies,

     we could do that

Then you can ring up Papa John’s and order something special. But if she replies,

     we could do that.

Then you should probably drink a cup of coffee: You’re either going out or you’re eating Papa John’s alone.

This is an unlikely heel turn in linguistics. In most written language, the period is a neutral way to mark a pause or complete a thought; but digital communications are turning it into something more aggressive.



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