Teenagers and young people in their early twenties perceive the use of the full stop in text messages as “negative”, according to language experts.
Generation Z, defined as people who were born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s, who have grown up with technology often will use short messages to communicate with one another.
But it seems the full stop has become a symbol of passive-aggression in texts, as there is no need for them in SMS or online instant messaging services because the sending of the text implies that the sentence is finished.
Language experts have been debating the use of the full stop for some years now and why youths interpret the punctuation mark as negative.
Some, including Professor David Crystal, argued that the full stop had become redundant, as a text was now ended by sending it, and the sentence did not need to be finished with a full stop.
But, he said, the full stop is not always construed as “intimidating”, but merely carries “an emotional charge, which can be anything from mild to strong”.
Professor Crystal, author of the book Making a Point, told Yahoo News: “It's a consequence of a trend to omit full stops at the end of statements in short messaging services.
“We've been dropping full stops in informal writing for centuries. And today...? Think post-it notes on fridges. Or, more formally, newspaper headlines. Or many kinds of legal document. These are all special circumstances, and the SMS world is just the latest example.
However he said that there is no danger of the full becoming defunct or unnecessary.
“It doesn't affect any other variety of the language, so there's no risk of the full stop becoming defunct. That wouldn't happen, as punctuation is an essential means of making writing clear and easy to read.
“But in SMS, where it's obvious that a sentence has come to an end, and there are no sentence sequences that need to be demarcated, it's really redundant.”
When asked whether he thought that the lack of use of punctuation in texts would lead to a misuse of correct punctuation, for example when applying for a job, he said that young people need to learn this at school.
“People have been concerned about the teaching and learning of punctuation since the 18th century. Teachers of course are well aware of this issue.”
However, Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, says that fads and fashions that de-skill young people “should be resisted”.
“There is a danger that over-use of short-cut text communication will erode an ability to write correctly in non-text situations. Employers, for example, are unlikely to view favourably text messaging English,” he told Yahoo News.
“Young people should be encouraged to write and speak according to context and that includes a command of formal English. English has become the international language and it will be a sad day when native speakers are alone in being unable to cope with it writing it beyond text messaging abbreviations.
This full stop debate has been ongoing since around 2015, when a study from Binghamton University in New York that people who finish messages with full stops are perceived as insincere.
The study involved 126 undergraduates and the researchers found that text messages ending in the most final of punctuation marks, for example, 'lol.', were perceived as being less sincere.
Texts ending in an exclamation point – like “lmao!” – are deemed heartfelt or more profound.
At the beginning of August, internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch told the BBC that more and more people now see ending messages with a full stop as rude.
She said this is because of the way young people text and use instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
"If you're a young person and you're sending a message to someone, the default way to break up your thoughts is to send each thought as a new message," she said.
"Because the minimum thing necessary to send is the message itself, anything additional you include can take on an additional interpretation.”