Listen Up! How You Use Punctuation in Texts? It Matters. A Lot.

By Janine Doyon

Thanks! Thanks? Thanks…

When you’re reading these, are you hearing the difference? How would you react to these one-word sentences if your friend sent them in a text message?

How you use punctuation can change the whole meaning of a text. A quick “thank you” message can go from friendly to passive-aggressive or anxiety-inducing, simply by changing the exclamation point to a period.

What Is Texting Anxiety and How Is It Affecting Your Relationship?

“In an Internet context, punctuation is often used to convey a certain kind of tone of voice,” says linguist Gretchen McCulloch, author of “Because Internet.” 

Exclamation points sound more polite! Ending a text message with a period might be the grammatically correct way to do it, but it can come across as rude. 

“And if you say things with that tone, that sounds a little bit sarcastic, it sounds a little bit final,” McCulloch said. “And sometimes that gets interpreted as, ‘maybe this person’s mad at me, maybe this person isn’t sincere…’”

Four Ways to Support Teachers

By Brooke Stafford-Brizard

It’s an understatement to say that the last year has been challenging for teachers. We’ve asked them to learn entirely new methods for teaching in online and hybrid environments. We’ve asked them to address the trauma and stress students are experiencing as we navigate the pandemic and we’ve asked them to do all this while navigating their stresses, both professional and personal.

2017 survey by the American Federation of Teachers showed that nearly two-thirds of educators usually feel stressed out, twice the level felt by workers in the general population. That stress has only multiplied since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A study released in March by the RAND Corporation, supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, raises alarm bells about pressures felt by educators during the era of remote and hybrid instruction. Consider: