Accurate and precise writing requires the proper use of punctuation marks. Punctuation serves as a kind of “silent” inflection that provides readers with modulation, cadence, and pauses. When used correctly, writers can control how their writing is interpreted, whether their goal is to entertain, inspire, or persuade. The correct use of punctuation and mechanics is essential for effective written communication. This blog will emphasize the importance of periods in enhancing accuracy and clarity when used appropriately.

What are Periods?

The period, sometimes referred to as a “full stop,” is a small dot-shaped punctuation mark used to indicate the end of a declarative sentence or an abbreviated word. It should be placed after the last word in the sentence, just like other terminal punctuation marks. Since it is commonly used to end sentences, it is the most frequently used punctuation mark. Although using periods may seem simple, there are rules that can be confusing, such as their placement within quotation marks or their use in abbreviations. This blog aims to provide you with all the necessary information about periods to help you master their usage.

Let’s take a look at some examples of periods in sentences:

  • My dad used to say it’s not the destination but the journey.
  • Please turn off the lights on your way out.
  • The new office will be ready in two weeks.
  • They arrived at 4 p.m. and went straight to the convention.
  • We did another coat just to be sure. (The color wasn’t solid enough.)
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Periods Rules

Study the table of rules for periods below:

SentencesPeriods are used to end simple sentences with plain or neutral emotions. They are used in declarative and imperative sentences. Examples:

– They took the kids to an amusement park.
– Grace and her family will visit next week.
– Please don’t be late for work tomorrow.
Indirect QuestionsIf a sentence contains an indirect question, we end it with a period, not the question mark. Examples:

– She asked us if we were ready.
– Mia wanted to know where you wrote the info.
– The officer wanted to know why we were parked there.
AbbreviationsListed below are cases of abbreviations that require periods:

– Formal titles (Mr./Mrs., Dr., etc.)
– First, second, and middle name shortcuts (J.D. Salinger, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.), but not when the full name is abbreviated.
– Months and days (Jan., Mon., etc.)
– Latin expressions (etc., e.g., and so on)
– Non-metric units (lbs., in., etc.)
– Time periods (a.m. and p.m., although it’s acceptable in modern writing not to use periods)
Table of Rules for Periods
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Examples of Periods

  • The U.S. government has issued a warning to all citizens traveling to the E.U. to be aware of the new regulations.
  •  J.R.R. Tolkien created an entire language for his books, including dialects.
  • Melissa’s students wanted to know how to use primer on the canvas before painting.
  • Dr. Gupta traveled to almost a dozen countries last year to talk about brain surgeries.
  • They were stranded in the mall because of the sudden blizzard.
  • I’ve got to pick up some groceries on the way home like bread, cheese, vegetables, etc.
  • We met Mr. Ravishan at the Digital Art Camp two summers ago and have stayed in touch.
  • Nookie has gained 4 lbs. in the past month. Is that normal for a Japanese Spitz? 
  • “There will be no extensions for late registrants,” said Mr. James.
  • When I told him the pen was mine, he just grinned and said “finders keepers.”

Periods Exercise with Answers

Exercise on Quotation Marks

1. Choose which abbreviation uses the period correctly

a. Ph.D.

b. PhD..

c. Ph.D

2. Choose the sentence with the correct placement of the period.

a. Paige texted. “I’ll be late so you can start without me.”

b. Paige texted, “I’ll be late so you can start without me”.

c. Paige texted, “I’ll be late so you can start without me.”

3. Choose the sentence that uses the period correctly.

a. After the teacher arrived. Kai arranged the shelf.

b. After the teacher arrived, Kai arranged the shelf.

c. Both a and b.

4. Choose the sentence with the INCORRECT use of the period.

a. I think Lani said Radha’s team is expected to be here at 10 a.m.

b. We will reconvene at 8 a.m on Tuesday.

c. At 9 a.m, the bookshop is too crowded.

5. Choose the sentence with the correct usage of the period.

a. His new diet seems to be working. He lost 10 lbs. recently.

b. His new diet seems to be working. He lost 10 lbs recently.

c. Both a and b.


1. a: Ph.D.

2. c: Paige texted, “I’ll be late so you can start without me.”

3. b: After the teacher arrived, Kai arranged the shelf.

4. b: We will reconvene at 8 a.m on Tuesday.

5. a: His new diet seems to be working. He lost 10 lbs. recently.

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Punctuations List

Here is a list of the most commonly used punctuation marks in the English language:

Common Punctuation Marks
Punctuation MarkFunctionExample
Period [.]End simple or neutral sentences and abbreviations.– They rehearsed the fight sequence a dozen times before filming.
– Vera wanted to buy ice cream from the new store on First Street.
– Talia immigrated to the U.S. when she was 9 years old.
Question mark [?]End interrogative sentences.– What time will the car pick us up?
– Did Sarah come by in the morning?
– Will the shipment arrive before the 17th?
Exclamation point [!]End exclamatory sentences or sentences that express strong feelings.– That’s awesome!
– I can’t do this any longer!
– Out now!
Semicolon [;] or Comma [,]Connect complete sentences or enumerate items in a list.– Miki, Gus, and Amet went to the store to buy more beer. 
– I’m exhausted; we reorganized the shelves today.
– Farah dyed and cut my hair; she also styled and gave it a treatment.
quotation marks [” “]Signify quotations.– “Why is Ryan not here yet?”
– “Are you hungry?” asked Miko.
– Sasha smiled. “I would love to go.”
apostrophe [‘]Show contractions or indicate possessive.– That’s Jarek’s bad so please watch it for a while.
– Can’t they follow a simple rule?
– Margo’s friends visited her at the resort.
Table of Common Punctuations
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

In written language, quotation marks are valuable tools used to indicate direct speech, dialogue, or quotes from sources. They play a vital role in separating quoted text from the rest of the content, making it easier for readers to understand. Correct usage of quotation marks can improve the clarity, readability, and credibility of any written work. Therefore, it’s essential for English learners to understand the rules of using quotation marks, such as when to use single or double quotation marks, how to punctuate them, and how to integrate them into sentences. With dedicated practice and careful attention to detail, English language students can master the skill of using quotation marks effectively.

Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand question marks and types of punctuation marks.

Common Errors Made by English Learners

Refer to the table below for additional rules on the usage of periods, which are often overlooked by English learners. Familiarizing yourself with these rules can help you avoid common writing errors:

Common ErrorsExplanation/Example
Metric UnitsMetric units, when abbreviated, don’t use periods. For example cm, kg, and so on.
Double PeriodsIn cases when abbreviations with periods end sentences, there’s no need to add another period. For example:

– We brought the essentials: camping gear, a portable generator, a shower, etc.
– The placement officer will see you at 10 a.m. However, you should remember that punctuation marks such as commas, colons, and semi-colons can come after abbreviations that end with periods. For example:

– We measure weight in lbs., while they do it in kg.
– They should be here at 8 a.m.; the boss said so.
Style changesRemember that acronyms don’t need periods (e.g. FBI, NSA, FDA, etc.) although they used to. Also, while we’ve so far been using a.m. and p.m. with periods, am and pm are considered correct as well.
Table of Common Errors with Periods
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Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Periods

Below is a list of useful tips for studying Verbs:

Learning StrategiesExplanation
Language ListsGrammar resources, such as lists, tables, charts, and diagrams, offer a wealth of information, but they can also be overwhelming. To maximize the benefits of these resources, it’s important to find those that are easy to understand and customize to your learning style. While these tools should not replace comprehensive learning, they are useful for introducing complex grammar concepts, including punctuation, in a more straightforward and accessible manner. They simplify intricate grammar rules into more digestible patterns, formats, and regulations, often accompanied by practical sentence examples from real-world contexts. These examples can help improve your vocabulary and sentence-building skills.
Language ExposureTo achieve advanced language proficiency in a limited timeframe, it’s not enough to rely solely on classroom learning. Independent learning is crucial, and while it demands consistency and dedication, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. A great way to gain insights into how English speakers use the language in different contexts is by consuming audio-visual materials, such as podcasts, music, TV shows, YouTube videos, TikTok, and films. These resources are readily available and provide a wealth of information at your fingertips. Moreover, as the English language is continually evolving, with popular culture being a significant influence on these changes, these tools can also offer relevant cultural and social language knowledge. So, with intentional consumption and active engagement with these media, learning can be an enjoyable and entertaining experience.
Language ExchangeTheoretical knowledge in any academic field is meaningless without practical application. It’s not uncommon to come across individuals who have an excellent grasp of grammar rules but struggle to hold extended conversations, which is paradoxical. This is likely because such individuals have limited experience in using the language beyond reading and writing. While this is commendable, it’s not ideal for achieving fluency in speaking, which is a critical aspect of communication in various contexts, such as networking, building work relationships, and living abroad. To improve speaking skills, it’s vital to practice speaking regularly. If opportunities to speak in English are scarce, you could consider forming an English club or study group. This not only provides opportunities to practice speaking with peers but also enables you to form meaningful friendships and gain insights into how the language is used in different countries. Studying English is not only about standardized tests; it’s about preparing for future communication needs, and the only way to improve your skills is through practice.
Table of Learning Strategies for Periods
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Periods Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a dot written at the bottom of a line and is used to signify a full stop or an abbreviation. It may look like a tiny circle that isn’t darkened in some fonts. Don’t confuse it with the dotted bullet, as bullets are typically before the items they list and are placed in the middle of the top and bottom parts of a written line.

Periods are commonly used after two kinds of sentences: declarative sentences or statements and imperative sentences or commands. They are also used after most abbreviations. When it comes to sentences, though, you have to remember that periods shouldn’t be used if you’re asking a question or showing certain emotions. Periods are only used in simpler sentences that bear no or neutral emotions.

That would be the British English style of writing. In American English, the placement of periods is always before the closing quotation mark, hence they are always inside quotes.

No, the punctuations in the quotes are sufficient. Proper names or titles that are stylized to end in question marks and exclamation points don’t need periods if they end a sentence. Study the structure of the following. Sentences such as these don’t need periods:

– She asked them, “Do you really have no idea this was going on?”
– I am watching the TV show Where’s Wanda?
– Tommy is wearing a shirt with the catchphrase Bazinga!

To properly use an ellipsis, it is essential to include spaces before, between, and after the periods unless they are used in quotes. The ellipsis (…) is a sequence of three periods that denotes the exclusion of words from a quotation, a pause or uncertainty in dialogue, or a trailing off of thoughts. Take a look at this page to learn more about them.

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