This is a question regarding the text message culture (SMS, chat etc). Hope it's not off-topic since well, texting language is still a language.

It sometimes happens that during a conversation someone sends a text message that consists only of one dot – no space, no word, no other punctuation, just one period glyph and that's all.

What's the meaning of such a text message?

  • 1
    It's entirely a matter of opinion and context. I often send just a single space as a quirky alternative to a question mark (if I'm waiting for someone to text me, and I just want to "nudge" them into getting on with it). – FumbleFingers Jan 17 '16 at 16:30
  • In some contexts sending a single period (or something of that ilk) is used to "keep the line open" and indicate that the person is still there on the other end (perhaps awaiting something from your end). – Hot Licks Jan 17 '16 at 20:12
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    Among my North American 20-something years old peers, a single dot is usually used to indicate "I read your message, but have nothing to say in reply". – Ben Jan 18 '16 at 0:19
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    Fwiw, I'm a native English speaker, and I would have no clue what this meant. I'd probably assume it was a mistake, and would ask if the person meant to type something but didn't. That said, I'm 32, so maybe I'm just too old to be texting. ;) – yshavit Jan 18 '16 at 1:41
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    This question is not about English, since the semaphore of a single dot in texting is used in many cultures of different languages. It is also opinion based. – Arm the good guys in America Jan 11 '17 at 13:22

In manga dot's are used to express a silent response. This is needed because manga doesn't have time, it has panels. To show time passing without anything being said they put in dots.

If I send you a single dot in an SMS or chat it means, I'm here. I'm reading. I'm not saying anything. Because if I didn't for all you know I'm asleep.

  • But I tend to press "." and "enter" while I'm sleeping, according to my wife. "To show the passing of time" is a brilliant answer to this profound question. I up-voted your answer, of course. :-) – Mark Hubbard Jan 17 '16 at 19:50
  • @CandiedOrange Have an upvote. – reddit Oct 16 '16 at 5:12
  • @CandiedOrange Found the new guy. – reddit Oct 16 '16 at 5:17

In Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist/science fiction novel, The Sirens of Titan, the entire purpose of the evolution of the human race was to produce and deliver a small replacement part to a moon-stranded spaceship so it could complete its mission of carrying a message from one side of the universe to the other.

"The message consists of a single dot, which in the Tralfamadorian language means 'greetings.'"

See: http://webdoc.sub.gwdg.de/edoc/ia/eese/artic99/klein2/5_99.html

Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sirens_of_Titan

  • . Such people must think we're very friendly when we use our periods. – candied_orange Jan 17 '16 at 17:03
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    @CandiedOrange- And a warm "." to you as well. – Mark Hubbard Jan 17 '16 at 18:16
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    This does not address the question. – Arm the good guys in America Jan 11 '17 at 13:24
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    An answer befitting an incredibly off-the-wall question? :-) – Mark Hubbard Jan 11 '17 at 17:40

Depending on the context of course, a single . can signify sorrow and commiseration.

Person 1: My cat died today

Person 2: .

Person 3: I'm sorry for your loss.

It can be a simple way of paying respects, or a "moment of silence".

Example and further explanation.

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