When to Use a Period (Full Stop) (with Examples)

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When to Use a Period (Full Stop) (with Examples)

A period (.) (or full stop in the UK) is a punctuation mark used:

Examples of a Period (Full Stop) Ending a Declarative Sentence

Here are some declarative sentences:
  • Last words are for fools who haven't said enough. (Karl Marx, 1818-1883)
  • I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception. (Groucho Marx, 1890-1977)
  • I am a Marxist of the Groucho tendency. (Anon)
Do not forget that a declarative sentence can include an indirect question. Do not be tempted to use a question mark. For example:
  • She asked if it were true.
  • She asked if it were true?
Read more about declarative sentences.

Examples of a Period (Full Stop) Ending an Imperative Sentence

Here are some imperative sentences ending in periods (full stops):
  • Please print four of these for the meeting.
  • Write again soon.
These are commands, but they are not forceful commands. A forceful command is followed by an exclamation mark.

Read more about imperative sentences.
Read more about exclamation marks.

Examples of a Periods (Full Stops) in Abbreviations

Here are some examples of periods (full stops) in abbreviations:
  • B.B.C.
  • a.m.
  • etc.
  • Prof. Munro
  • Dr. Jones
Read more about periods (full stops) in abbreviations.
Read more about the US and UK conventions for ending a contraction with a period (full stop).

You Can't Put a Comma and Carry on Writing

Remember, a sentence expresses a complete thought. A sentence must contain a subject and a verb (even if one is implied).

Once you have written a sentence, you cannot put a comma and carry on writing. This is called a run-on error or a comma fault. For example:
  • I love angel cake, it is my favourite.
  • (This is a run-on error.)
Read more about sentences.

Read more about the run-on error (or comma fault).

Read more about using a semicolon, a colon, ellipsis, or a dash to extend a sentence.

Do Not Use Two Periods

When the last word of a sentence ends in a period (full stop), there is no need to use another one. For example:
  • Please buy bread, milk, etc. I'm going to be late.
  • Please buy bread, milk, etc.. I'm going to be late.
  • She worked for the B.B.C. She now sells insurance.
Read more about doubling end punctuation (with quotations).

Read about using a period (full stop) after an ellipsis (...).

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