You might say The New York Times was trying to make a point.
On Friday, the newspaper published a story — on its front page, no less — with just two periods in the text. The story, written by reporter Dan Bilefsky, is a 700-word exploration of why periods (also known as points or full stops) are on their way out. Here are the nutgrafs, which appear sans periods.
The period — the full-stop signal we all learn as children, whose use stretches back at least to the Middle Ages — is gradually being felled in the barrage of instant messaging that has become synonymous with the digital age
So says David Crystal, who has written more than 100 books on language and is a former master of original pronunciation at Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London — a man who understands the power of tradition in language
The story goes on to cite the rise of texting, tweeting and Facebooking as giving rise to an informal style that often goes ungarnished by end punctuation.
The piece provoked some pushback from grammar purists, some that used periods to make emphatic points (still a valid use, according to the story):
— Nova Halliwell (@adviceineeded) June 10, 2016
I've spent my whole life learning to master the understated period. https://t.co/rO7U3otfL9
— Jim Aloisi (@JimAloisi) June 10, 2016
— David (@fearnohill) June 10, 2016
This article is a copywrighter's nightmare. https://t.co/xbHVpCwXRH
— Jonathan Mastro (@jonathanmastro) June 10, 2016
— Mike McDougall (@MikeMcDoug) June 10, 2016
But some illustrated the article’s point with period-less tweets:
— Cyrus Farivar (@cfarivar) June 10, 2016
NYT runs a whole article with one period in it https://t.co/MjFfXxjPRh
— Nat Ives (@natives) June 10, 2016
— Lisa Pohlman London (@MrsDrLondon) June 10, 2016
So, why go without periods? Michael Slackman, the international managing editor of The New York Times, said in an email the decision rested on an old journalism standby:
“@poynter: U know the writer’s rule: Show, don’t tell! How better 2 drive home pt abt how we all comm now? + it was fun”