Full Stop Punctuation: Guide to Proper Usage

The full stop (.) is a punctuation mark that looks like a small round dot. It serves to punctuate the end of a sentence, typically separating whole sentences from one another. This article discusses the full stop punctuation and how to utilize it in writing.

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    The Full Stop Punctuation: An Overview

    The full stop punctuation, also known as the period, indicates that a conversation has ended and no more thought is needed. Its typical use is to mark the end of declarative sentences or a series of imperative sentences.

    The full stop is used in both formal and informal writing. It works the same in both cases. The full stop is used to end a sentence after the idea has been fully stated and the final word is complete.

    Uses of Full Stop

    The full stop is one of the punctuation marks that is used after a sentence. It is commonly known as the period and denotes the end of a thought or sentence. The uses of full stop are as follows:

    1. To end a sentence.

    The most common use of the full stop is to end the final word and indicate that the sentence is complete. It can also be used to separate two independent clauses. Specifically, the full stop ends statements, commands, instructions, mild interjections, and requests.

    A sentence fragment results when a full stop is used to punctuate incomplete sentences or phrases.

    Examples

    • I am going home to sleep.
    • There, I have completed the task.
    • I went to the Friday concert. I listened to my favorite musician sing.
    • The TV is on and playing a movie.
    • I will take a walk after breakfast.
    • Take the clothes to the laundryman.
    • Make sure you clean your room regularly.

    2. After abbreviations and initials and to indicate omissions.

    Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or phrases. Full stops are essential in marking abbreviations. For example, a.m. (ante meridian), St. (street), Mr. (Mister), Prof. (Professor), and Dr. (Doctor).

    Initials are first letters of words, such as names of people, organizations, and countries. A full stop punctuates initials—for example, U.K. (United Kingdom), J.A. Davidson (James Andrews Davidson).

    An ellipsis (…), composed of three full stops, indicates an absence of some words or parts of a sentence.

    Examples

    • Prof. Charles is my course instructor.
    • I have grammar lessons at 9 a.m. every day.
    • Roberts started a Master’s program in the U.K.
    • My favorite author is J.A. Davidson.
    • I asked Mr. Johnson to put me through the Mathematics assignment.
    • Johnson (2008) viewed humanity as…

    3. After reported questions.

    A reported question tells someone what another person asked. The full stop ends reported questions.

    Examples

    • I asked Mr. Steven if he had seen my notebook.
    • Chris asked if I could help with his homework.
    • He asked me to write my name down.
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    Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

    To Wrap Up

    The full stop is one of the most utilized punctuation marks in English. Commonly used to punctuate the end of statements, commands, and reported questions, its improper use could easily affect your writing. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to use this punctuation effectively.

    Full Stop Punctuation: Guide to Proper Usage

    Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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