Where to Use Periods/Full Stops

The period is one of the first punctuation marks we learn when at the start of our reading and writing years. In comparison to other punctuation marks such as the semicolons or commas, the use of the period is easy to learn and understand.

The period is known as the “full stop” in British English and period or full point in North American English. The period is used for several purposes, and while that is our topic for discussion today, we’d have a brief discussion on the history and meaning of the period (Get a professional editor to take care of your writing).Full stop

The period is derived from Ancient Greece and was introduced by Aristophanes of Byzantium in the 3rd Century BCE. In Aristophanes system, there were several dots whose placement determined their meaning. The full stop marked the end of a completed thought or expression, and it was placed at the end of a sentence. The word period itself comes from the Latin word “periodos”. The punctuation mark shifted in symbol and even meaning from the time of Aristophanes to the 16th-century grammarians. By the nineteenth century, both American and British English were consistent in their usage of the terms “full stop and period.”

The period is used for different purposes with the most popular use being to mark the end of a declarative sentence (this is as opposed to an exclamation or a question). The mark is also usually used to indicate omitted characters or to indicate omitted words in an ellipsis (…) or after every individual letter used to stand for a name. A period is also used in British English at the end of word abbreviations (Rev.) However, it is not used after contractions like Revd (the American English uses it on both occasions. It is also used for the decimal point in Anglophone countries and may be called a point.

When To Use the Period

For Dramatic Effect

The period is used to create a dramatic effect in informal writing such as social media updates, text messages where a period comes between each word to create a pause and add impact. In other words, it can also be use for emphasis.

Examples:

What. A. Goal.

Best. Movie. Ever.

Oh. My. God.

In Abbreviations

Periods can also be used to show abbreviated phrases or words.

Latin abbreviations are usually written with a period:

 

  • a.m – ante meridiem (before midday)
  • p.m – post meridiem (after midday)
  • i.e – id est (in other words)
  • e.g – exempli gratia (for example)

There are several recommendations for this use of periods. Many universities are not in support of using Latin abbreviations at all in academic English.

In Time Abbreviations

p.m (post meridiem ) and a.m (ante meridiem ) are written in lower case with two periods in British English.

  • 11 p.m.
  • 2.20 a.m.

In Australian and North American English, there are no periods. However, North America flavors and capitals and no periods:

  • 11 PM
  • 2.20 AM

North America (No periods, lower case)

  • 11pm
  • 2.20am

For Titles

The period is used in American English for titles in such as; Mrs. Mr. Ms. Dr.

British English, on the other hand, flavors writing titles without a period. (Mrs, Mr, Dr…)

Ending Sentences

This is perhaps the most common use of the period. The period is used to indicate the end of a sentence that are not exclamations or questions.

After Initials

It is common in North American English to use periods after initials. For example

  • J. Biden
  • George W. Bush

There are writing styles that discourage the use of periods after initials. Some of these writing styles believe selling out names in full instead of abbreviating them avoid ambiguity.

***

Also learn about other punctuation marks like ellipses, commas, colons, semicolons, hyphens, dashes, parentheses, brackets, braces, question marks, quotation marks, exclamation marks, and apostrophes)

 

Scientific Editing

1 thought on “Where to Use Periods/Full Stops”

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

What is an adjective?

What Is an Adjective?

What is an adjective? How is an adjective used in a sentence? What are all types of adjectives? Need answers? Stay tuned and keep reading this article! Adjectives are one of the nine parts of speech that improve your writing and speaking to make it more specific and more interesting. Adjectives are descriptive words used…
What is a preposition?

What Is a Preposition?

Introduction When it comes to dealing with the English language, especially for non-English speakers, its numerous little rules can feel confusing to say the least. For example, many people struggle with prepositions. Despite being a crucial part of the language itself, English speaking people tend to have a very limited number of prepositions that they…
What is a verb?

What Is a Verb?

What is a verb? What is a verb tense? What are different types of verbs? To find answers to these questions, stay tuned and keep reading! Definition A verb can be defined as a doing or action word. It shows an action, event or state of being. Sentences in the English Language can have either…
Apostrophe rules

All You Need to Know about Apostrophe Rules

Introduction Apostrophe happens to be one punctuation mark that has been abused and misused as far as the English language is concerned. Most people feel the English language is complicated because It has various rules that need to be followed. Punctuation marks were created to help us read easier but since their creation there has…
Where to use ellipsis

Ellipsis – All You Need to Know about It

The ellipsis (. . ., …)  also known as dot-dot-dot is a grammatical term (usually three dots) that’s used to indicate an intentional omission of a sentence, word or whole section from a text without changing its original meaning. The word “ellipsis” originates from the Greek word élleipsis, and it means, leave out. When it comes to how…