The one writing skill you must master


In this photograph taken on July 6, 2017, typewriter mechanic Anand Savarkar displays the keys of an old typewriter at his repair shop in Mumbai. The unmistakable chatter of typewriters outside courthouses and government offices will soon fall silent in India’s financial capital Mumbai as stenography colleges on August 11 hold their final manual exams. The roughly 3,500 institutes teaching the antiquated ways of the typewriter across Maharastra state will be phased out as India pushes ahead with a drive to digitize the economy. / AFP PHOTO / Indranil MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

Source: BBC News

A full stop on an old-fashioned typewriter was a large black blob as wide as a letter. When computers arrived they brought in typefaces with proportional spacing and the full stop diminished to a small dot.

For me, as a former typewriter user, the effect was to make the full stop matter less. The most crucial part of the sentence became a mere speck: easy to insert unthinkingly, easy to miss out altogether.

Then along came another threat – texting and chatting online. The dialogic visual language of texting speech bubbles, pinging left and right on your phone, has little use for full stops. A single-line text needs no punctuation to show that it has ended. In lieu of a full stop, we press “send”. The end of a text is now more commonly marked by a kiss, or an emoji, than a full stop. Studies have even shown that people tend to read a text that ends with a full stop as curt or passive-aggressive.

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