I am thinking about this style of writing:

We. Do. Not. Negotiate!

First of all, how would you call that? I have difficulties finding references about it, even though it seems to me that this is quite a common usage.

Second, is there any reason to avoid this form of writing? Would you consider it to be bad style?

To provide context: no, I do not plan to write with this style. If had to write dialogues, I think I would be inclined to use it. I am under the impression that this a common way of writing, especially in English (I don't know why, but I associate this style with English). I am not a native speaker, though, and I wanted to know how other people feel about this.

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    No, it's not common. It is used in informal (internet) typing for a very particular sentiment (very measured, authoritative, short proclamations)
    – Mitch
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 14:22
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    It is a strictly informal device used to give the impression of a staccato mode of speech, and it has connotations of frustration on the part of the speaker. It is not common, and I would consider it bad style, not least because the result it produces is not grammatically correct. Arguably it will still be understood, at least by native speakers, but the humor value/impact of it is very much in the eye of the beholder. Personally I do not like it and would never use it in any context. Commented May 27, 2015 at 14:26
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    I believe, and I could be wrong on this, that this form of representing slow, deliberate enunciation was first used by The Simpsons fans to write Comic Book Guy's catchphrase "worst episode ever" in discussion forums. Of course, the slow, deliberate enunciation itself has precedent in Valley speak ("Oh. My. God.") Commented May 27, 2015 at 14:46
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    First, it's not "to emphasize" per se, it does happen to gain emphasis. The point is to replicate speech pattern -- each word is pronounced separately as if it's a sentence by itself. Which is why there are the periods. The idea is brought out well by the question "which part of '... ...' that you do not understand?" Usually (nearly always) used in a dialog.
    – Kris
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 15:09
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    If you are quoting dialog, it is a legitimate way to represent a speech pattern. If you're writing a business proposal, on the other hand, it's a legitimate way to get your proposal dumped in the trash can.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


It's not overly common (and rightly so). You are most likely to find it in A: dialogue in a book or B: the internet.

It should also be noted that this sort of emphasis is considered informal. You would not find it in any legal documents or academic publications; bold text would be used instead.

As for popular usage, it most likely stems from The Simpsons character Comic Book Guy:

Comic Book Guy 1 Comic Book Guy 2

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