Periods are one of the most important punctuation marks in the English language, and they play a crucial role in clarifying the meaning of sentences and making them easier to read. However, many people struggle with proper period placement, leading to confusion and ambiguity in their writing. To help you better understand, we will explore the rules of period usage, along with examples to help you understand how to use them effectively in your writing.
- Use periods to end a sentence
The most basic rule of period usage is to use a period at the end of a sentence. This is important as it indicates to the reader that the sentence is complete and should be read as a whole. For example:
Incorrect: I am going to the store
Correct: I am going to the store.
- Use periods to end abbreviations
When using abbreviations in your writing, you should use a period to indicate the end of the abbreviation. This helps to make your writing clear and consistent. For example:
Incorrect: Dr Mrs Mr
Correct: Dr. Mrs. Mr.
- Don’t use periods in certain types of abbreviations
Some abbreviations don’t require periods, such as acronyms (where the letters form a word) and initialisms (where each letter is pronounced individually). For example:
Incorrect: NASA. FBI. NATO.
Correct: NASA, FBI, NATO.
- Don’t use periods in titles or headings
When writing titles or headings, you should not use periods at the end, as they are not complete sentences. For example:
Incorrect: How to Use Proper Period Placement.
Correct: How to Use Proper Period Placement
- Don’t use periods in bulleted or numbered lists
When using bulleted or numbered lists, you should not use periods at the end of each item, as they are not complete sentences. For example:
- Use periods in certain abbreviations within a sentence
Some abbreviations can be used within a sentence, such as “i.e.” (meaning “that is”) or “e.g.” (meaning “for example”). In these cases, a period should be used after the abbreviation. For example:
Incorrect: I enjoy reading different genres of books i.e mystery, romance, and sci-fi. Correct: I enjoy reading different genres of books, i.e., mystery, romance, and sci-fi.
- Use periods in certain types of titles
Some titles require periods, such as in legal titles like “U.S.” or “J.D.” For example:
Incorrect: He received his JD degree last year.
Correct: He received his J.D. degree last year.
- Don’t use periods in URLs
When writing URLs, you should not use periods, as they may interfere with the functionality of the link. For example:
Proper period placement is essential to clear and effective writing. By following these rules and practicing with examples, you can become proficient in using periods to enhance the meaning of your sentences and make your writing more readable. Remember, when in doubt, read your sentence out loud and listen for natural pauses – this can often be a good indication of where periods should be placed. Happy writing!