How to Make Faces With Punctuation Marks

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In the past few decades, "faces" made with punctuation (emoticons) have gone from computer-wiz exclusivity to constant use by emailers and texters. Indeed, much of the emoticon's popularity is due the meteoric rise of cell-phone texting. Making simple emoticons is easier than you might think. But beware: it can become addictive.

  • Learn where all of the punctuation marks are on the keyboard. Some of the more commonly used ones are the colon, semicolon, greater- and less-than signs and parentheses. If you're a frequent typist, chances are you have a basic familiarity with where they are, but get in the habit of using them for exclamatory purposes. For example, use a smiley face after a happy statement in lieu of an exclamation point. On a cell phone, learn how to quickly access the symbols and numbers menu on the text screen or keypad.

  • Practice the basic faces, such as smiley faces, winks and smirks. A colon serves as the eyes; a semicolon provides the wink. A "close parenthesis" (found on the "0" key) makes for a smile, while the forward slash or back slash makes a smirk. Frowns are made using the "open parenthesis" that's located on the "9" key.

  • Learn the advanced faces; they're usually easier than you think. For example, the "confused" expression is "O_o" (it's made with a capital "O," a line, and a lowercase "o"). Learn how to add a nose: ":-)" (most of the time it's made with the "hyphen" key). Decide which ones you deem most expressive of your personality and communication style.

  • Work on creating your own faces. It doesn't matter whether they've been done before; just play around in a Word document or a notepad on your computer, or in a draft on your cell phone.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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