The Period

Period as a mark of Punctuation

This very important mark of punctuation is also known as a full-stop.  It is probably the most common mark of punctuation.  It can be used in a variety of ways – but one thing is for sure.  It is always used at the end of a sentence.

I will use the term "full-stop" on this page a fair bit because I think it describes the use of this particular mark of punctuation.  You have to come to a "full-stop" at the end of a sentence.

If you don’t know what is a sentence, that`s another topic. 

Place a period

(a) at the end of a sentence 

Be careful to understand what is a sentence.  A common error is to produce a run-on sentence – and that is done by adding a comma instead of the "full-stop" at the end of the sentence.  More on that later.

(b) after an abbreviation

Be careful to learn the abbreviations properly so that you use them correctly.  Since an abbreviation is really a short, but complete, word, you would leave only one space the abbreviation.  The period is really part of the word if you use it with an abbreviation.

a.m. 
Mr. James Smith
Mr. R. D. Smith
The boy ran a mile in about seven minutes.
The boy ran a mile in about seven minutes, he enjoys running.
(The final line above is a run-on sentence.  Replace the comma with a "full-stop" to have two complete sentences.)


(c) at the end of a paragraph heading 

A paragraph heading is a keyword or a couple of keywords that you place at the start of the paragraph – in the same line as the first sentence.

Marks of Punctuation.  Learning how to write properly requires that you understand the proper use of marks of punctuation.  I hope to be able to help you through that process here.

(The above demonstrates a paragraph heading.) 

(d) after a number in a numbered list. 

Then, press the TAB key (or let Word create the automatic list for you.)

1.     Step One
2.     Step Two
3.     Step Three

(e) before the extension in a computer file name.

Mydocument.html
Mydocument.doc (Word document)




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A little quiz about the period

A LITTLE QUIZ -

Here are a few sentences to look over.  Can you tell which one(s) are correct - and most importantly, why?

More information on each mark of punctuation can be found on the individual pages of this website that focus on the specific individual marks.



GROUP ONE

  1. If we wish to pursue this project, we need to consider fund-raising.
  2. If we wish to pursue this project.  We need to consider fund-raising.
  3. If we wish to pursue this project; we need to consider fund-raising.


Critique:

#1 is correct.  There's a period at the end of the sentence.  There's a comma after an introductory clause.

#2 is incorrect.  The period after "project" makes the dependent clause a sentence fragment.  The final clause "We need..." is actually a complete sentence by itself. 

#3 is incorrect.  The comma is the punctuation that goes AFTER an introductory word, phrase, or clause - in this case the clause.  The semi-colon has different uses.


GROUP TWO

  1. Our election of officers must be carried out at a regular meeting before the end of November.
  2. Our election of officers, must be carried out at a regular meeting.  Before the end of November.
  3. Our election of officers must be carried out at a regular meeting; before the end of November.


Critique:

#1 is correct.  It is a straightforward sentence with a couple of modifying phrases.

#2 is incorrect.  The first comma is placed between the subject and verb - and no punctuation should be placed between the subject and verb.  The final phrase "Before the end..." is a sentence fragment.

#3 is also incorrect.  The semicolon does not belong where it is placed.


GROUP THREE

  • A more formal report is required from the attendees to the seminar  will we continue to support this event.


  • A more formal report is required.  From the attendees to the seminar.  Will we continue to support this event?


  • A more formal report is required from the attendees to the seminar.  Will we continue to support this event?


Critique:

#1 above is incorrect.  It is a run-on sentence.  Punctuation must be placed correctly to separate all of those words for a clear meaning.

#2 above is incorrect.  The first part is a sentence.  It's okay.  But the second part if clearly a sentence fragment.  The final section is also a complete sentence.  So, different punctuation is required to get rid of the sentence fragment.  Which part does the fragment belong to?  (It belongs to the first part.)

#3 above is correct.  The longer first portion is now a complete sentence with a couple of modifying phrases.  The last is also a complete sentence - a question.


How did you do?


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