Don’t be a jerk. Stop ending your texts with periods.

texting
Shuttershock
The period is dead. Punctuation is over. Run-on sentences and incomplete thoughts are the new standard. Do I sound insincere? Maybe it’s because proper grammar is now being associated with insincerity, at least when it comes to texting.

As it turns out, science has now confirmed that your passive-aggressive habit of ending one-word texts with periods to quietly express your anger (“k.” “fine.” “cool.”) isn’t as passive as you think. According to new research published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, texts that end with a period are rated as less sincere than those that do not. Great.

Led by Binghamton University’s Celia Klin, a team of researchers asked a group of 126 college undergrads (a small sample size, to be sure, but likely quite representative of the most active texting demographic) to look at a series of both texts and handwritten notes. Common one-word responses like “yeah,” “sure,” “ok,” and the like were shown with and without periods. When participants were asked to judge the degree of sincerity of these notes, the researchers found that “the responses that ended with a period were rated as less sincere than those that did not end with a period.” However, this same discrepancy was not observed in handwritten notes.

“We conclude that punctuation is one cue used by senders, and understood by receivers, to convey pragmatic and social information,” wrote Klin’s team.

So one seemingly harmless piece of punctuation has now been loaded with (often negative) meaning. Connotation no longer applies only to words, but in how you choose to end them as well. “Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations,” Klin said in a statement. “When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses, and so on.”

But the same isn’t true with texting. And given the rapidity with which we often send these short messages, taking the extra time to put a period at the end of an otherwise cursory message does seem to affect how the message is received. “Texters rely on what they have available to them  — emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation,” Klin noted.

That isn’t to say that no punctuation is always better. In unpublished research, Klin’s team has found that the use of exclamation marks often makes the texter seem more sincere (though maybe there’s a limit on how many of those you can slap onto a sentence before sounding snarky). And of course, there’s no word yet on whether grandma (or your other older relatives), who was raised on oxford commas, means to come off rudely when she sends you a text that reads, “Love you.”

But look out millennials — science is onto you. And now we know what “thanks.” really means.

Smart Home

Your Instant Pot can do it all. Research says it has another important function

Researchers at Dakota State University tested a variety of pressure cookers for sterilization and found that Instant Pot provides enough pressure and heat to kill off food-spoiling bacteria.
Smart Home

Update your kitchen with the best refrigerators you can buy in 2019

There are tons of factors that go into buying a fridge, from size and capacity to color. It takes lots of testing and research, but we've chosen the best refrigerators to get you started, regardless of what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Scientists have a way to turn off alcoholism: Blasting the brain with lasers

Researchers from Scripps Research have demonstrated that it is possible to reverse the desire to drink in alcohol-dependent rats by targeting a part of the brain using lasers. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 12.2 brings support for Apple News Plus and new AirPlay 2 features

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Mobile

Apple News Plus gives you access to more than 300 magazines for $10 per month

At Apple's services event, the company unveiled a new news subscription service called Apple News Plus. The service gives you access to more than 300 magazines and newspapers and costs $10 per month.
Mobile

Does the box for AirPods 2 reveal Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat?

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Apple

Apple Pay will be available at 70 percent of U.S. retail locations this year

Apple Pay is growing rapidly, so we've built a list of all the vendors, retailers, and companies worldwide that plan to support Apple's burgeoning mobile payment platform or already do.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Computing

Yes, you can use Android apps on your Chromebook. Here's how

You can now get Android apps on your Chromebook! Google has enabled the Google Play Store app support on its Chrome OS and Chromebook hardware, so to get you started, here's our guide on how to get Android apps on a Chromebook.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy Fold pre-orders will start April 26, with shipment on May 3

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Huawei P30 Pro is a gorgeous-looking smartphone packed with camera ingenuity

Huawei has kicked off the new year by launching the new Huawei P30 Pro and P30. With upgraded hardware, new software tricks, and some absolutely stunning cameras, Huawei's new phones are serious contenders.
Product Review

Huawei re-engineers the camera on the P30 Pro for stunning night photography

Huawei’s P-series phones place an emphasis on the camera. That’s why the company partnered with Leica on the camera tuning. The latest phone is the Huawei P30 Pro, and it must fill the big shoes of last year’s stunning P20 Pro. Is it…