Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Smileys/Emoticons and Parenthesis

A minor pet peeve of mine is how parenthesis are commonly used in conjunction with emoticons in Internet postings. The author will insert a parenthetical thought into a sentence, and want to associate a smiley with the thought. Most posts that I've seen do it like this:

"... so I got home from work at 5:15 (if only I could get home that early every day! :)"

The problem with this is that the parenthetical statement is never really closed. The ')' character at the end of the sentence is the "smile" part of the emoticon, and it seems awkward to have it act as the closing parenthesis character as well.

As an alternative, I would suggest the following:

"... so I got home from work at 5:15 (if only I could get home that early every day!) :)"

In this version, the parenthetical statement is closed properly, and the feeling that the author is trying to convey by use of the emoticon still comes across clearly, even though the emoticon is located outside the parenthesis.


  1. Booooooooooo.... I think the smile parentheses can be used for two things (and think of how many trees we will save by resuing that character :)

  2. jon do you have an opinion on writers who use no punctuation and no capitalization at all : )

  3. It would be nice if everyone at least tried to post using good grammar! Posting with poor grammar can be taken as a warning flag that the post author doesn't really know what they are talking about and/or didn't put much thought into the post. (These presumptions aren't true in all cases, though they certainly are true in at least some.)

    I make an exception for posters who are obviously non-native English speakers posting in English. I would hope to be cut a little bit of slack by readers if I ever attempted to post in French on a French-language forum, for example!


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