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Punctuation is changing

  • Publish Date: Posted 04 June 2024
  • Author: AP Group

​Over the past few years, informal digital communication has seen a rise in the use of emojis, exclamation marks, and ellipses, while the use of certain traditional punctuation marks, such as full stops and commas, has become more variable.

Emojis and Emoticons

Emojis and emoticons have become increasingly prevalent in digital communication. According to various studies, their usage has been on the rise across social media platforms, messaging apps, and even in email correspondence. For instance, a study by Adobe found that 71% of emoji users said they felt their message was better understood when they used emojis, and 63% said they felt the use of emojis made them better liked by the recipient.

Exclamation Marks

Exclamation marks are commonly used in informal digital communication to convey enthusiasm, excitement, or emphasis. While there's no specific recent statistic available, their frequent usage is noticeable across social media platforms, where users often pepper their posts and comments with multiple exclamation marks.


Ellipses (...) are frequently used to indicate pauses or trailing thoughts in informal writing. Their use has become more common, particularly in texting and social media updates.

Decreasing/Used Selectively:

Regarding punctuation marks that are decreasing or used more selectively:

• Full Stops

The omission of full stops at the end of sentences has become more common, especially in short, informal messages. A study conducted by linguist Gretchen McCulloch in 2019 showed that in texting, only 39% of sentences ended with a period, compared to 94% in formal writing.

• Commas, Semicolons, Colons, Parentheses, Quotation Marks:

While these punctuation marks are still used, their usage in informal digital communication tends to be more variable and less consistent compared to formal writing. The informality of digital communication often leads to decreased usage of punctuation, as people opt for shorter, more straightforward expressions.

However, it's essential to note that formal writing, such as academic papers, professional emails, and published works, still typically adhere to standard punctuation conventions. Therefore, while there is a trend toward less punctuation in some contexts, it doesn't necessarily apply universally.