The Grammar Of The Internet

The Grammar Of The Internet

Your crash course to understanding how to speak on the internet.

It has been said multiple times over and over that one cannot express emotion over text messages. In written word, it simply isn’t possible to convey facial expressions, inflection, tone, and volume to the degree that spoke word provides. It’s the one major downside that such a form of communication has. Which is why emoticons (and then, later, emojis) were invented; so one can throw a smiley face at the end of their passive-aggressive message to show that they’re just joking.

But those who claim that they cannot understand the emotional undertones of modern written word are simply not fluent in the type that has formed since the rise of the internet. Yup. Today, we’re going to be discussing the grammar of the internet.

There are about 55 keys on a standard keyboard, which include, among others; the alphabet, numbers, shift, control, alt, and enter keys. With these simple buttons, individuals on the internet were able to create their own language with various subcultures depending on which website one frequents. Most of the examples today will be taken from Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, but these grammatical rules can be used throughout most of the internet interchangeably.

1. Questions And Answers

One of the most common internet linguistics tropes is when an individual will end a statement in a question mark, instead of a period, to portray uncertainty? And a questionable inflection? Instead of just ending it in a period, which wouldn’t express the same hesitancy? Usually, this is used when someone is talking about their emotions? And their just a little sad? Or something?

The interesting counterbalance to this, is when an individual will end a question in a period, as if to express irritation or a blunt inflection. Why do they do this. Does anyone understand. How did it start. How can you tell the difference between an actual question and an implied question.

Perhaps a clearer example:

It’s due tomorrow.

It’s due tomorrow?

It’s due tomorrow??

With the first sentence, it’s a simple statement. The paper is due tomorrow. It’s a fact that expresses causality and comfort. With the second sentence, the speaker is unsure. It might be due tomorrow. It might be due today. Or yesterday. Who knows. With the third sentence, however, the stakes have been raised. Instead of just expressing an uncertainty, this sentence is able to portray surprise. From the sentence alone, the reader is able to tell that the the speaker has not even started the project.

And for questions:

Why would you do this.

Why would you do this?

Why would you do this???

The same applies, only switched. The first question is very casual, blunt, and not at all surprised by what is happening. The third is very expressive, mostly showing shock or confusion. It is usually rhetorical, as is the first question. The second question is far too formal and is genuinely interested in the answer. That’s the real indicator; the answer. If the question expects an answer, it should be formatted properly. If not, then it should have a period or multiple question marks.

2. Comma Ellipsis,,,

Something new that has come along in the recent years, is the act of using commas in the place of ellipsis to express,,,, something. While it’s up to interpretation, when I read or use comma ellipsis it’s to express annoyance; rather than a pause, skip of information, or confusion, which ellipsis tend to be used for.


Anyway … It’s weird.

Anyway,,, it’s weird.

The first sentence just expresses a pause, where the speaker took a moment to breathe or think. It gives the phrase a somewhat softer tone. While the second one barely pauses at all. Instead, it plows through with the sentence, still finishing the thought. I relate a comma ellipse to an eye-roll. The speaker doesn’t stop talking as they roll their eyes. Some people think it’s stupid, though.

3. Keyboard Smashing

Next, keyboard smashing. This is a form of communication that has no translation and is different every time you see it. Sometimes it’s like this: tryuiokml, and sometimes it’s like this: esrdtcfgvibhopnjo, but it means the same thing. I am so excited right now that I cannot form words to express how cool this is. Another way to say this is by just putting: !!!!!, which is much neater and gives off the same effect.

4. Capitalization and Punctuation

Lastly I’m going to talk about how people on the internet just don’t capitalize anything ever and sometimes punctuation is used so rarely that everything is just one long run-on sentence with no real pauses or endings this can be used in online storytelling to give off a stream of consciousness all the thoughts are just flowing out and it's really laid-back and chill but also has a lot to say most people who aren’t used to such a way of communication really hate that the internet does this but i feel like my boy ee cummings would dig it.

Now, putting it all together:

Internet syntax is strange? It’s different, but it’s not,,, hard. if you just use it in practice then it makes sense. Why wouldn’t you write like this. It’s so much easier to understand? To express tone? wertyuiolxc I just !!!! love it !!!! so much??? How the internet has created it’s own language??? That everyone can understand, given time and context??? qwertyuiop!!!

Of course, this was just a crash course, and there are an indescribable amount of grammar rules for the internet, including the wide expansion of hashtags, emojis, memes, gifs, and reaction photos. The internet has a language of it’s own, and this barely scrapes the surface of it. But maybe now you get it?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...


"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"


Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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