A full stop is a punctuation mark used to end a sentence. In American English, it’s known as a period.

When repeated three times, it becomes an ellipsis, which indicates omitted words.

Why do we use full stops?

Full stops are used to end a sentence. They indicate that a point has been made and that we’re ready to move on to the following sentence.

Like other punctuation marks, they show us how to read sentences and when they end. Imagine reading a book with no full stops – that’s just one

Without full stops, it would be difficult to identify where one sentence ends, and another sentence begins. The ideas might end up blending, muddling up the message. It makes reading a lot more complicated. That’s why we make it easy for the reader and use full stops.

We need to use full stops to show the reader where the sentence ends. Generally, the full stop should come once a whole idea has been expressed. This way, we can move on to describing the following opinion.

Full Stop Punctuation Rules

Although full stops are simple to use, there are some critical full-stop punctuation rules to remember.

Full stop at the end of a sentence.

Full stops are used to end a sentence when that sentence has expressed a complete thought or idea. They’re only used to finish sentences that are statements, not questions or exclamations.

For example:

  • I hope to see you soon.
  • I received your letter.
  • I start work later this afternoon.

Full stop at the end of suggestions or commands.

Full stops can also be used to end sentences which are suggestions or commands. These types of sentences can also be called imperative sentences.

For example:

  • Put your coat on the hook.
  • Stick out your tongue.
  • Let’s go to the park.

Full stop at the end of individual words.

Full stops are sometimes also used after individual words. For example, it could be when the words in a sentence are in an unusual format or a question-and-answer writing style.

For example:

  • What is the capital city of France? A: Paris.
  • She was as happy as she’d ever been here. Rested. Calm. Content.

Full stop after reported questions.

Full stops can also be used after reported questions instead of a question mark. A reported question is when the question is not being directly asked but is being written by the speaker.

For example:

  • She asked me if I knew where I was.
  • I wondered what time it was.

Full stops in abbreviations.

Full stops can also be used in abbreviations. Abbreviations are when a word or phrase is made shorter by blending them or omitting part of them.

For example:

  • The party starts at 8 P.M.
  • Dr. John D. Foster

If the abbreviation comes at the end of a sentence and usually uses a complete stop, we don’t need to add another full stop.

For example:

  • We’ve got all the party stuff here: cakes, balloons, hats, etc.
  • Full stop; we should start it with a capital letter.
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