“May we prESUme?”

#1 – October 2022

Introducing our new blog: a regular set of posts contributed by ESU QLD President, Roly Sussex. At the end of the first week of each month., we will publish a short monthly discussion piece about current issues, especially but not only language. 

There is a link for additional material to explore, and it will be mirrored on Facebook for members to comment and add additional material and links. Please participate!

The first in the series was written by your President, Roly Sussex. After that all members are encouraged to contribute pieces in the same format on topics of interest.


Anyone who was seen text messages, especially from younger users, would have seen that standard punctuation is in retreat. With the exception of the exclamation mark. But that is another story.

What is more insidious is that one of our most reliable pieces of punctuation, the full stop, has changed its spots. It used to mark the end of a sentence, paragraph or a text. But in younger persons’ text messages it is now the default to leave it out. And if you do put it in, it has acquired a new and ominous overtone.

Let’s say you invite a friend to meet you for coffee. If they reply “Sure”, with no full stop, the message is understood to be warm and friendly. But if you write “Sure.”, with a full stop, it can sound passive-aggressive or peremptory. A bit like the content of some emojis.

But even then you could be wrong. A lot depends on the age of the writer, and the age of the person they think they are writing to.


To explore the metamorphosis of the full stop, try this yourdictionary.com link: “Why the period in your text makes your friends nervous”

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