So much communication occurs through text-based technology. Text messages, emails, blogs..and there’s way too much subtext within this medium that’s supposed to be “simpler.”
For example, punctuation. I rarely use punctuation in a text, unless it’s to a parent/relative, or someone in a position of authority. I’m most careful to insert proper periods and and commas when communicating with my ex-English-teacher aunt. Just because she’s retired from teaching does not mean she’s retired from editing for proper usage. There is one exception to my I-don’t-use-periods-unless-I’m-texting-my-family rule, though… and it connotes that I’m not happy.
Let me demonstrate: “Yeah, whatever” typically says, “Sure, that’s cool,” or “I don’t have a particular preference,” especially when used in conjunction with a smiley face and/or something to convey laughter. However, “Yeah, whatever.” means “Fine, have it your way. You suck.”
There’s also a difference between using “Okay,” and “Sure.” Okay says…well, it says “okay.” It’s hard to convey anything other than agreement. “Sure,” on the other hand could say “okay” or it could say “I don’t really want to, but alright I’ll go along with you,” particularly when used with a period. “Sure thing,” means “Yep, that’s totally cool.” Don’t get me started on “fine.” Whole new game when that comes in.
Of course, there are exceptions. Anytime you use a smiley and/or something to convey laughter, as in the “yeah, whatever” situation, typically negates any meanness. If you’re not sure how the person you’re talking to will respond to your choice of words, three little letters will save you a lot of grief: lol. That’s all you have to put at the end of “Sure” to transform it from, “You’re so self-involved you must always have things your way,” to, “Okay, I’m perfectly accepting of that.”
Don’t you wish you just picked up the phone and called someone instead?
And Dad, if you’re reading this, you’re one of the people with whom I usually use proper punctuation, so disregard all of this information.