How to Do a Smiley Face Text

Updated February 21, 2017

A smiley face text consists of a series of common punctuation marks or symbols that represent various facial features. While all face-like text symbols are referred to as "smiley," not all of them represent happy emotions. Smiley faces, also called emoticons, represent the texter's emotions and give context to offhand or joking statements. Emoticons represent your tone of voice and help the reader to determine if you are being sarcastic or sincere. Because texting has little or no grammatical structure, use a smiley face text in place of normal punctuation or placed after the sentence punctuation as a separate statement.

Select a symbol for the eyes. A colon is the most commonly used symbol for eyes, representing a smiley face with a neutral expression. The numeral eight represents a wide-eyed, or shocked, expression. The lower comma of a semicolon represents a winking eye, as does the upper portion of an exclamation mark. A right-facing carrot ">" represents angry eyes.

Select a symbol for the nose. This step is optional, as not everyone favours its use. A lower case "o" or a zero represents a button nose. A right-facing carrot ">" represents a long nose, and an elevated carrot "^" and a hyphen represent standard noses.

Select a mouth. The most common is a left-facing parenthesis ")" representing the smile. However, variations include an asterisk to represent puckered lips, a bracket "}" to represent a shy or silly smile and a lower case "o" or zero to represent shock and surprise. You can also express sadness with a right-facing parenthesis or bracket.

Locate the place in your text were you want to insert the smiley face and place a space between the last word and the start of your smiley face. This will help the reader distinguish it as a separate symbol and not part of the punctuation of a sentence.

Type the symbols you have chosen in the order of eyes, nose and mouth. For example, type a colon and a left-facing parenthesis to create a standard smiley face, :) .


Some people place spaces between each of the symbols composing a smiley face text others do not. This is optional and does not affect the meaning. :) means happy or pleased. :( means sad. ;) or !^) represents winking and can be used to represent joking, cleverness or slyness. 8o means shocked or surprised. 8) means pleasantly surprised. : or :^ represents a kiss or a sour face depending on the context of the text. >^( represents mad or angry.

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About the Author

Transplanted Yankee Erin Watson-Price lives in Birmingham, Ala., and has been writing freelance articles since 1997. She worked as writer/co-editor for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue's newsletter, "The Long and the Short of It." In 2007 she obtained a certification as a copy editor. Watson-Price holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.