This. Can’t. Be. Happening.

Has anyone witnessed the extravagant use of periods lately? It’s as though they are a penny a piece.

I first noticed the dropping of periods like sheep poo in my daughter’s writing. I told her periods – dots – weren’t meant to be used that way. They belong at the end of sentences and on top of lower case I and J. You can also use them to pause . . . to think . . . and then you can use three at once!

She said books she read used periods like that all the time. She’s thirteen and reads books targeted at girls her age who love horses. She doesn’t enjoy many of the books for teens because, as she says, “They’re all about death or dying. Boring.” However, she did read the Twilightseries. Those books weren’t about death though some people in them were dead.

I can produce a lot of Periods. In. Seconds!

I wonder if this first happened in Twilight and if so, were people trying to copy it because of the millions of dollars the books generated in sales. My daughter said it did appear in Twilight, but she was certain it happened only once. Other books not in the series used it much more.

Still, I’m befuddled. No book I’ve read tossed around periods like it was scratch for chickens. Is this how authors writing for teens slow things down and put emphasis on Every. Word? Do they think teens Need. This. Because. Of. Texting? Or. Because. Their. Brains. Aren’t. Equipped. To. Handle. Long. Sentences? Perhaps it is the Short. Attention. Spans of Some. Teens.

But. Wait. There’s. More.

I recently received an e-newsletter I subscribe to and the first sentence read: If I had a penny for Every. Time. I. Heard. This.  I would be sailing around in the Caribbean on my yacht.

That looks ridiculous to me, and so many hard stops so close makes me feel like I’m pumping the brakes. Hard. Has period tossing now entered the adult writing world?

What do you think? Have you read books that over-use periods for emphasis? Does it annoy you? Do you or would you consider using them?

8 thoughts on “This. Can’t. Be. Happening.

  1. I’ve noticed people using them instead of commas, but I don’t think using them for emphasis like that is very common where I live. (Now I feel somewhat thankful.)


    • As I mentioned, I first noticed this in my daughter’s writing. That was only about four months ago. It wasn’t something she was taught at school, but something she mimicked from the books she’s read. Perhaps it is a passing fancy and won’t catch on.


  2. I have noticed this, and perhaps I have even been “guilty” of it .. but I can’t remember for sure. I would use them that way for emphasis. In fact, I recently read a little something about periods, that they are now acceptably used for emphasis (maybe not in all corners), although I believe one must be careful to not overuse that ploy.

    I think this is another way our written language is morphing, changing to suit the times. I’m a stickler when it comes to proper usage, not always perfectly correct, myself, but trying to be, so I wasn’t impressed the first few times I saw it done. Now, though, I think it works. *gasp*… But, that’s just my opinion. 😉


    • I agree, Lynn. Our language is always changing, not always for the best. Some things are tried and kept, while others are tried and discarded. Personally, I hope this one doesn’t live long. The sudden stops do not add emphasis for me. It’s a hard, neck-jerking stop. But who knows; in twenty years it may be the norm. Still, I don’t think I’ll resort to using it.


    • I think it may appear only in teen fiction. I’ve never seen it elsewhere — except that e-newsletter. It may be just another over the top thing to get the attention of teenagers.


  3. Diane,

    I. totally. agree. 🙂

    I’ve noticed a lot of the overuse of periods lately too. Mostly in blog posts when writers want to place emphasis on something. I agree on your thought that maybe it’s a side-effect of texting.

    Christi Corbett


    • It seems these days everything has to bigger, brighter, faster. So to emphasize anything, it must be bolder, brighter or have more periods..! But where does it stop? There was a time when a victim who was simply murdered without details was tragic; now, to be tragic, we need the gory details. I guess we are becoming numb to simplicity.


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