11 Hidden Meanings Behind Punctuation in Text Messages

11 Hidden Meanings Behind Punctuation in Text Messages

We’ve all texted someone and been shocked when they don’t pick up on the meaning of our punctuation that we thought was clear and obvious. Some punctuation marks that you use on your keyboard may have other meanings in text messages, depending on how you use them, so here are some hidden meanings behind punctuation in text messages. Punctuation Mark #1: The Period (.) At the end of sentences, periods are used to signify the end of your sentence in text messages just as they do in any other writing format.

I. Question Marks

The humble question mark makes a grand statement: I am questioning the meaning of life. And when it shows up at the end of a sentence, it’s just one punctuation mark for two purposes. Use it sparingly, as this is how you indicate that you are truly confused about something or have just received a text from your boss that doesn’t make any sense.

II. Exclamation Points

Exclamation points are often used to express a heightened emotion like excitement, shock, or happiness. They can also be used as a substitute for please when requesting something from someone or even show that you are mad at someone. One way to use an exclamation point is when responding to texts. If you feel an exclamation point may better fit the context of your response and make it more compelling, use it! However, if you have one too many exclamation points in a row, people may start interpreting them as spam text messages and it will lose its effect entirely.

III. Periods

A period is simply used to separate one thought from another. Without a period, the message would become a run-on sentence. The purpose of periods, commas, semicolons and colons are all related to emphasis or clarification. When sending a text message that contains more than one sentence, it’s best to use punctuation to clarify what you mean.

IV. Hyphens, Parentheses and Ellipses

Ellipses have always been a bit of a mystery, and some people would be surprised to know they’re not just punctuation to signify pauses. Parentheses, meanwhile, are used for mathematical expressions and other symbols that usually do not get as much emphasis. Hyphens and commas both have their own meanings which we’ll go over below.

The first type of hyphen we’ll take a look at is the horizontal dash (<- like this), which is called an em dash or dash. It has two primary uses: -emphasizing elements like these- showing concurrent dialogue.

V. Colon

The colon is used to separate list items or to introduce a list. For example, if you have three tips on cooking bacon, you could write the following: Tip One: Use the right tools; Tip Two: Consider bacon cooking temperatures; Tip Three: Prepare bacon with dry heat. In addition, a colon can be used as a way of introducing examples. For instance, if your sentence reads One factor for success includes hard work, and your second sentence reads another factor for success includes innate talent, then you can use the first colon to end one thought and start another. Finally, a colon can also be used after an explanation or definition to add onto what was just said.

VI. Semicolon

The semicolon (;) is the most used punctuation mark of all time, but it can mean many different things. The semicolon is used to divide two clauses into a single sentence. Semicolons are also used as sentence adverbs, where they are separating off an independent clause from a dependent clause with two conjunctions so as to create a second sentence within the first one. Lastly, you will see the semicolon sometimes before an imperative verb phrase that’s intended as an afterthought or commentary on the previous clause (as in I’m going to go; there’s nothing left here).

VII. Greater-Than Sign and Less-Than Sign

The greater-than sign and the less-than sign are used to create order between numbers, items, or qualities. An X is often interpreted as times. If a task requires you to scrub floors on your hands and knees and your assistant says they will do it four times, that would mean four hours of work! In this case, the assistants would be doing floor work for four times what is required which isn’t fair. The less-than sign can be used to show fairness when completing tasks by telling someone how many of their tasks are completed as opposed to how many are left. It also symbolizes less than something or that one person is less important than another.

VIII. Asterisk and Slash (Or Forward Slash)

An asterisk or forward slash is a symbol of a footnote. When an asterisk is used, the footnote follows below the end of the sentence. It’s most commonly used in blogs and research papers to denote additional information on a particular topic. But it has its place in text messages too! Use this as an indicator that you’re adding more to what you wrote earlier – be sure to follow up with your point after using it so that there’s clarity. For example: I went outside,*then I ran around. Forward slashes signify any time someone wants to continue a conversation in writing because they have more thoughts or feelings about something said before.

IX. Plus (+) and Minus (-) Signs Section: X. Double Quotation Marks

And finally, quotation marks and the plus (+) and minus (-) signs! Quotation marks provide clarity as to what you are trying to say. When you surround a sentence with quotation marks, it is easier for your reader to parse exactly what that sentence means. If you use them to highlight phrases or sections of sentences, it provides an easy button for readers to have an overview of the text they are reading. They also come in handy when someone is misquoting something or the quoted words need clarification. The pluses (+) and minuses (-) signs indicate positive or negative values. Put one before a number to signify that it’s greater than zero.

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