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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:
- At the end of a declarative sentence.
- At the end of an imperative sentence (which is not forceful enough for an exclamation mark).
- In an abbreviation (including initialisms and contractions).
Examples of a Period (Full Stop) Ending a Declarative SentenceHere 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)
- She asked if it were true.
- She asked if it were true?
Examples of a Period (Full Stop) Ending an Imperative SentenceHere are some imperative sentences ending in periods (full stops):
- Please print four of these for the meeting.
- Write again soon.
Read more about imperative sentences.
Read more about exclamation marks.
Examples of a Periods (Full Stops) in AbbreviationsHere are some examples of periods (full stops) in abbreviations:
- Prof. Munro
- Dr. Jones
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 WritingRemember, 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 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 PeriodsWhen 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 about using a period (full stop) after an ellipsis (...).
What is punctuation? What is a declarative sentence? What are abbreviations? What is an imperative sentence? Periods (full stops) in abbreviations Ending a contraction with a period (full stop) Using a semicolon, a colon, ellipsis, or a dash to extend a sentence using a period (full stop) after an ellipsis (…) Glossary of grammatical terms