Magazine topic: 
Science and technology

Emoticons :)

by : 

Emotion icons: :) for a smiley face, :( for a sad face, <3 for a heart ... every icon you use helps you to convey meaning. I’m studying English Literature, so writing properly is very important to me and I get cross when I make obvious mistakes. When I send a text message, I write in standard English – I never use short forms ‘R U OK’ or ‘I LV U’ to ask if someone is OK or to tell them you love them. Yet the whole point of texting is to be able to send a message and receive a reply as fast as possible, so why is it that I spend extra precious seconds searching through the emoticons for the right one to express how I feel?

I actually think that sometimes emoticons are really useful to depict how you feel and to clarify messages which may be misinterpreted. Here’s an example:

  • ‘Stop annoying me!’ :-(
  • ‘Stop annoying me!’ ;-)
  • ‘Stop annoying me!’ :@ (Angry face) 

To me, the sad face shows that I am feeling sad about something and that the person I am talking to isn’t making me feel any better. The winky face says that I don’t mind the person being annoying and I am just teasing them, while the angry face tells them that I am not in a good mood and don’t want to be annoyed by someone at that moment.

An added bonus is that the emoticons often speak for themselves and sometimes do not need text to interpret them, which is brilliant when I’m texting in Spanish and unable to think of the right words to say. I’m also acutely aware that as a foreigner I do not yet have the subtleties needed to be able to speak the intricacies of a language and that sometimes it is possible to be too blunt and direct! Emoticons help to convey the extra subtlety that I miss in text.


Do you use emoticons? Which emoticons do you use the most and why? Do you think they are a good invention?


hermione123's picture
hermione123 24 January, 2021 - 05:49

Hey, guys
I think everyone love to use emoticons! And personally, they are really helpful. But, I just wonder, what people used before the emoticons was invented :)
Anyway, can someone tell me what :p means, please?

2 users have voted.
Tina - Coordinator's picture
Tina - Coordinator 25 January, 2021 - 08:51

Hi hermione123,

I believe that this :p means winking and sticking your tongue out so you use it as a cheeky or playful emoji at the end of your message.

Best wishes,
Tina (LearnEnglish Teens team)

1 user has voted.
Andrii's picture
Andrii 15 April, 2020 - 15:24

I use emoticons very often. My favourite are ;D, >:O and : p. I think, that they're really nice and useful invention.

0 users have voted.
ariina's picture
ariina 10 June, 2017 - 12:28

I love them and I usually use smiley one...these are the easiest and fastest way to show your feelings.

0 users have voted.
catastrophe's picture
catastrophe 17 May, 2017 - 11:01

:))) Of course! It's a much easier way to text, especially when mum calls you when you're texting! ;)))

0 users have voted.
mlimafaria's picture
mlimafaria 6 April, 2017 - 20:37

Yeah!I use more this :D because i am always happy.I though they are unsulles.However,now i think they are the better ivention ever!

0 users have voted.
Ken's picture
Ken 11 February, 2017 - 15:28

In my country, we often use emoticons, but they are slightly different from yours, Ellen.
For example, I've never used ;-) for "stop annoying me". I use it to show a wink to prompt agreement or "you know :-)".
I didn't know <3 as a heart. I often use =3 which shows something like a sigh !
When I want to say 'stop annoy me', I would show....
( `Д´)ノ

0 users have voted.
EllenBlogger's picture
EllenBlogger 2 March, 2017 - 19:56


I think they are used to convey how you feel and to also be more cautious with how you say things- i'm always hesitant of coming across wrong with what I say! But normally a 'winking' face to us means 'i'm only joking!'

These emoticons are cool! i wouldn't be able to remember more than three characters though! I only use emoticons as they are quick to type! :)

0 users have voted.
hadia's picture
hadia 8 February, 2017 - 13:45

;). Yep! They're cool and thanks to them, we can easily convey our messages, thoughts and feelings.

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