National Punctuation Day: What Your Emoticon Really Means

In honor of National Punctuation Day on September 24, here’s a breakdown of how the punctuation symbols you use every day to make those little smileys when chatting really function in a sentence.

Deconstruction of 🙂 and 😉

: The colon
A colon is used to introduce a list, quotation, explanation and to separate hours and minutes when describing time.

; The Semicolon
A semicolon is used to separate two main clauses in one sentence and items in a list.

() Parentheses
Parentheses are used in pairs to separate or interject text within other text. They’re also used in citations.

Next time you’re typing an emoticon, take a minute to consider what those symbols might really mean. And a helpful hint when you write your next essay: a colon should never go next to a parenthesis in formal writing.

What is your favorite emoticon?

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