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Magazine blogScience and technology

Emoticons :)


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.

Total votes: 30

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


Ken's picture
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

10 users have voted.