Periodos “Period” Mark: a Biography

Kai Takahashi
2 min readJul 6, 2016

Born in the 3rd century BC, Periodos “Period” Mark lived in the attic (as * does today) for most of its childhood. When it appeared, Period liked to stop and smell the roses. It is the most petite of all the Marks.

After going through puberty and dropping to the baseline, Period went on to enjoy a productive, prolific career. It attained grammatical significance as the almighty Ender of Sentence. It developed as a magician, making letters disappear as The Abbreviator. Period also added oracular abilities to its repertoire, as the Signifier of Decimals to Follow (sometimes sharing this role with the comma).

Over time, Period perfected the disappearing act, sometimes fully disappearing from view. Period became lifelong rivals with Quotation Mark, always competing for who would appear first. At the height of its career, Period had attained so much grandeur that often it would require not one, but two spaces after it, out of deference.

Period experienced a late-career renaissance. With the invention of the Internet, techies called on the reliable Period to help pioneer new transmission of information. Period serves as the unheralded delimiter under its common alias Dot, separating parcels of information and serving as the focal point of the “dot-com bubble”.

A family-oriented Mark, Period often appears with its spouse and child in the magic troupe Ellipsis, combining forces to make full sentences and paragraphs vanish. Ellipsis also became an advocacy group for the underrepresented concepts of doubt, hesitation and incompletion. When Period became a grandparent, Ellipsis sometimes performed with a seemingly endless parade of grandchildren, primarily in online contexts.

In its old age, Period has become cantankerous in its role as Ender of Sentence. With the rise of text messaging, many messages end unpunctuated, which irks Period. When it does appear, Period now serves as the Sentence Terminator, displaying passive aggression.

Until recently, Period was never one to show emotion. Period was once a bastion of neutrality, but in a day where being on time is late, being neutral is unfriendly; in direct communication, Exclamation Mark has become the new obsession.