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PUNCTUATION > Apostrophe > Colon > Comma > Dash > Exclamation > Parenthesis > Period > Questionmark > Quotations > Semicolon

Punctuation marks: How to use the PERIOD

How to use the PERIOD The period ( . ) is the most frequently used punctuation mark, with the exception of the comma. Logically the period outweighs all the other punctuation marks, even the other marks—the question and exclamation marks—that we use to end a sentence. The period's frequency and lack of suspensive quality make it practically a light and rapid mark, however emphatic. Comparatively speaking, the period is not suspensive. But it is emphatic because with the initial capital it marks a group as a sentence.

Rules to Use the Period

Rule # 1: To end a complete sentence.

You should use the period at the end of every sentence which is 1) complete in itself; and 2) declarative, imperative, or slightly exclamatory.

"I will work in my own sphere, nor wish it other than it is. This alone is health and happiness. This alone is life."—LONGFELIOW

"I love my new iPad. I use it to research."

"Did you call your brother yet?"

Rule # 2: To abbreviate words.

You should place a period after an abbreviation; such as: M. D., Esq., viz. for videlicet (namely), e. g. for exempli gratia (for example), etc. You do not use a period after a word in which you have omitted letters indicated by an apostrophe; as, dec'd for deceased. When you end a sentence with an abbreviated word, you use only one point.

Avoid using two points together. You may omit the period after a colon or an interrogation point following an abbreviation.

The presentation will be given on Friday, at 6 p.m. Did he graduate with a Ph.D?

If you shorten or abbreviate proper names, do not follow them with a period, such as: Ben (Benjamin), Will (William), John (Jonathan).

Do not use a period after abbreviations of dates, such as: 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, etc., unless they occur at the end of a sentence.

Rule # 3: Roman Numerals and Arabic Numerals.

You do not have to use a period after Roman numerals, such as: Book II; chap. IV; Edward VII, Louis IX of France.

You should place a period after Roman and Arabic numerals when you need to number a table of content, a list of subjects, paragraphs, or parts of the same paragraph.

You should write out numbers, as a general rule. Sometimes you will need to use Arabic numerals for dates, street addresses, citation of pages, in technical matter, and when you cannot indicate numerical figures by a round number. When many numbers appear in a work, you can express them by Arabic numerals to help the reader. Figures are generally used in commercial printing, but most writers write out numbers in formal and informal writing.

Rule # 4: Sideheads, and Names of Works or of Authors following an Extract.

When you place a sidehead at the beginning of a paragraph, follow it by a period and a dash. You generally place these marks after an extract, when the name of the author or work from which you have extracted text follows in the same paragraph. In these cases the dash is an ornamental mark used by the printer (and may be necessary).

Mathematics.-Arithmetic, geometry, algebra.

The foundation of true joy is in the conscience.-SENECA.

Rule # 5: Items of a Catalogue or Syllabus.

You should place a period after each item of a catalogue or syllabus when the items are not closely related.

Harding, Peter. Costume of the Russian Empire. 2011.

Lecture I.-The Development of English, Oral and Written. New Systems of Writing. Origins of the English Alphabet.

If you list names in a column, final periods are not used.

In a table of contents, you usually separate different topics of a paragraph by dashes.

Rule # 6. When a parenthesis forms the end of a declarative sentence, place the period outside the parenthesis. A period is placed inside a parenthesis only in two cases.

1. After an abbreviation.
This was 50 years ago (i.e. 1960 A.D.)

2. At the end of an independent sentence lying entirely within the parenthesis.

Lincoln was at the height of his powers in 1860.
(He was elected to the presidency at this time.)

Rule # 7. When a sentence ends with a quotation, always place the period inside the quotation marks.

"I have just read J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

Rule # 8. Title-pages, Headings, Cards, etc.

On title-pages, cards, and in headings of papers, etc., the best way is to omit the punctuation marks at the ends of the lines, except periods denoting abbreviations. The lines are sufficiently set off by blank spaces which follow. Generally, you can use commas and other marks within the lines.




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PUNCTUATION > Apostrophe > Colon > Comma > Dash > Exclamation > Parenthesis > Period > Questionmark > Quotations > Semicolon