4 min read

A Guide to Grammar for the Gen Z Squad

A Guide to Grammar for the Gen Z Squad

Gen Z, also known as those who came into the world from 1997 to 2012 (stretching to 2015 because, as we'll dive into with their linguistic quirks, members of Gen Z aren't fans of the full stop), have piggybacked off Millennials to reshape the established grammar game, which is totally chill...grammar is the DNA of language; it's not fixed—it's alive.

Considering the digital revolution, it's no surprise that major grammar transformations are part of the scene. This guide is here to break down the key tweaks for the Gen Z crowd.

Capitalization Is Like Adding Spice to Words

Gen Z might've bopped to Barney with their Sony Discmans in hand, but quick as a TikTok dance, they swapped over to earbuds and traded in personal CD players for MP3s.

They might faintly recall a cordless phone, but as soon as gaming on their moms' cell phones was done and they scored their own, texting became the new black over (ugh) actual phone conversations.

Gen Z and Text Based Comms

As these Gen Z kids leveled up, social media and various apps took over screens large and small; most of Gen Z's chitchat happened online or in texts. One big gap, though, that Gen Zers adapted to that switched up our communication game, was the missing rich text formatting for punching up language, for laying down tone, and for amping up meaning.

Peep this:

I love you.

I Love You!

I LOVE you!!!!

I Love YOU!!!!!

These three heavy-hitting words in our vocab can be spun in various ways, each with its own vibe due to how they're capitalized.

For the old-school grammar heads and editors, all but one of these would be like nails on a chalkboard; but for Gen Z, each style is not just good to go but legit depending on the feels you're throwing down.

If the tech wizards behind socials and apps had hit us up with italics and bold options, maybe this wouldn't be a thing, but here we are.

Throw Down the Exclamation Points!!!!!!!!!!! (What They Really Mean for Gen Z)

Now, onto those exclamation points. Cast your mind back to the '90s (y'know, when Gen Z peeps entered the scene?) when it was the bomb.com to sprinkle, like (snaps bubble gum), an endless stream of exclamation points to get your point across?

Yo, Gen Z has reclaimed that exclamatory vibe, and it's all good to flood a text with exclamation points (maybe dodge this move in your thesis paper, but after an all-caps OMG, sure, why not). And just for the record, the whole "like" after every other word hasn't made the comeback (as if!). No one's losing sleep over it.

Axing the Full Stops

Talking about punctuation, let's chat about periods. Gen Z isn't here for a full stop; they just don't vibe with periods in texts and other digital writing forms. In chill convos, full stops can come off as low-key hostile, not friendly, or just harsh (Snap! Gen Z's full-stop game is more intense than my midlife crisis).

Plus, you can get your point across sans full stop. That's why lots of peeps don't even bother with capital letters (unless they're making a statement); it's seen as extra and not worth the hustle, this writer notes, dropping her insight with an extra-shady period.

But peep the difference in texts:




That period isn't just chilly; it's ice cold.

Double Dots (..) & The Ellipsis (…)

Then you've got the double dots, once a typo, now a way to slide into a convo like, "Go on" or "You were saying?". Those two dots (..) have people catching on that you're queued up for the other person to keep the chat rolling. It's like saying "please, continue" in text form.

The ellipsis, a.k.a. the three dots, though, might give off a vibe of chilliness. Back in the day, ellipses were all about trailing off or linking up related thoughts; but for Gen Z, the ellipsis (…) can scream "I'm over it" or "Fine, if I have to."

Check it:

Yeah, sure, bring James to my engagement party...

Oh, he's out of prison, huh..

Note too that instead of using punctuation to switch topics, Gen Z's all about hitting that 'enter' key for a new line.

Speak Emoji

Last up, and no shocker, emojis are the bread and butter of Gen Z grammar. If periods and caps are a drag, then typing in general must be like... a snooze fest (JK, Gen Z is actually on point with literacy, especially when it's about showing what they feel; they're also top-tier readers). So now we've got an emoji for just about anything, thanks to their takeover on socials, messaging apps, and beyond.

Emojis are clutch for conveying tone and feels in ways that old-school punctuation just can't, with all sorts of faces, gestures, and icons that boil down big ideas into easy-to-get symbols.

Real Talk—What Gen Z's Grammar Guide Is Actually About

Real talk, the emoji spiel above nails it; Gen Z's grammar guide is all about the essence of communication, which is to get your message across not just with words but also with the right tone, emotion, and flair, using the fewest letters, emojis, or punctuation as possible.

This isn't about being lazy; it's about being slick and adapting. Language and grammar are mirrors of the times, and if you peek past the cute emojis, the sea of exclamation marks, and the stripped-down punctuation, you'll see we're a society that's all about that text life over the talk life, that stans for quickness, simplicity, and all the feels over just being correct.

For the grammar geeks mourning the death of the double-space post-period (hand up here), this shift can be a bit of a head-scratcher because now it's a puzzle to tell the difference between someone who's just not getting it and the cool kids. Who's left to side-eye? (Sobbing in exclamation points.);)

But legit, shout out to Gen Z for keeping the emoji game strong and for shaking up the convo on grammar rules (yep, ditched the period for you—on purpose).

Writing Exercises for Creativity

Writing Exercises for Creativity

Writers have to be creative on demand. To succeed in this inherently creative profession, it’s important to practice!

Read More
Taking a Step Back

Taking a Step Back

Just like athletes need to train physically, copywriters train mentally. Being someone who enjoys both physical and mental workouts, I discovered a...

Read More
Lessons for Writers from Iconic Sitcoms

Lessons for Writers from Iconic Sitcoms

You know why you love sitcoms? Writers. Writers make sitcoms worth watching (and the world go round, but that's obviously our biased opinion).

Read More