When your work colleague asks you “Report QUESTION MARK” you’ve got a case of verbal texting on your hands. It’s that socially awkward mode of speech that texting and emails has left us with, where people believe they can no longer communicate tone and need to spell out their punctuation. We are so sick of these guys EXCLAMATION POINT.
At its worst it can degenerate into emoticons – “You’re giving me FROWNY FACE right now and I need TONGUE POKING.” – and initialism - “Don’t make me LOL” – in conversation. Some try to specify font in conversation – “This joke is much funnier in Comic Sans” – but at its worst it becomes twitter speak. There’s nothing worse than talking to someone using hashtags in dialogue #justsayin. And it has to stop before people start trying to insert hyperlinks into speech FULL STOP.
In Other Words is a regular on the Big Issue's Ointment page. Off Verbal Texters appeared in Issue No. 374.