Cheeky Nandos! and not Cheeky Nandos. The science of writing the perfect text

Are you one of those Grammar nazis who never forget to dot their i's and cross their t's? And this also extends to the texts and Whatasapp messages you write? Well, sorry to say, but people think you're less sincere than you probably are.

Researchers at Birmingham University have found that placing full stops at the end of each text makes you appear either insincere or not so well-meaning. On the other hand, if you love putting exclamation marks at the end of your texts, you appear to others as more profound and heartfelt.

Texting is a peculiar sort of conversation, one which hangs somewhere between a letter and a face-to-face conversation. You don't have to grammatically correct, descriptive or even poetic, and replying with a 'k' to a request will usually go a long way towards mending bridges.

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“Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations. When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses and so on. People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them – emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation,” says Celia Klin, research leader at Birmingham University.

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Being basically informal, texts are usually livelier than e-mails or letters. Hence the use of punctuations, emoticons and abbreviations are so popular. Humans are a much busier lot these days than they were before internet was invented, so engaging in some light texting usually works like a breather.

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However, people respond differently to cues likes punctuations and emoticons so it may not be just to say that a putting a full stop will turn you into a villain in the entire world's eyes. Even so, the Birmingham University researchers must have considered this and their findings surely reflect the majority opinion.

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"When the exchanges appeared as text messages, the responses that ended with a period were rated as less sincere than those that did not end with a period. No such difference was found for handwritten notes. We conclude that punctuation is one cue used by senders, and understood by receivers, to convey pragmatic and social information," the research noted.

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