So, in American English, will emoticons come before the end punctuation or after :~/? Are they part of the sentence? Are they sentences by themselves? :O Wait! Aren’t they like stage directions? Or would they be parenthetical elements?
I mean, something like this is a no-brainer:
When I asked him about it, all he pinged back was “Maybe :).”
This is easy only because the “chat” part is actually only a quote within a sentence. All you have to do is reproduce the original as is. But, what are the rules for writing the original?
If you had to say “Maybe :),” where would you punctuate it?
A. Maybe (:)).
B. Maybe :).
C. Maybe. :)
D. Maybe :)
Or should this not even be a part of your sentence when you chat? I guess this becomes moot when we compare chat with other written material. I mean, I’m sure neither Valmiki nor Homer used emoticons in their epics to convey sarcasm or anything else. But then again, those weren’t really live conversations either.
What do you say? Am I to just shut up and leave chat alone? Are you gonna pelt me for being the SS of the Grammar Police?
Is this one day going to find its way into an actual style guide? ;)