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The Period

TIP Sheet
THE PERIOD

The period is used to end all sentences except those that are direct questions or exclamations. Periods are also used in abbreviations.

1. Use a period to end a declarative or imperative sentence.

  • A declarative sentence makes a statement.

All is fair in love and war.

  • An imperative sentence issues a request or command.

Please do not leave until you have said good-bye.

  • Do not use a period if the sentence is a genuine exclamation. Use an exclamation point.

That speech was fantastic!

  • Do not use a period with a sentence that asks a direct question. Use a question mark.

Will the picnic be canceled?

  • However, do use a period if the sentence is a statement reporting a question indirectly.

Sara asked if the picnic would be canceled.

2. Use a period in certain abbreviations.

  • The following are examples of some abbreviations which use periods:

Mr. B.A. e.g. A.M. or a.m. ft.
Mrs. M.A. i.e. P.M. or p.m. oz.
Ms. Ph.D. etc. Capt. dept.
Dr. R.N. Ave. c.o.d. P.O.

  • Do not use a period with U.S. Postal Service abbreviations for states.

Long Beach, CA 
Longview, TX
Detroit, MI

  • Do not use a period with most abbreviated names of organizations or with commonly used abbreviations that replace words.

NATO IRS CSU NBA
NAACP TV VCR CD-ROM

  • However, sometimes usage varies, such as in the abbreviation USA or U.S.A., both of which are acceptable. When in doubt, consult a dictionary or style manual, or a publication by the agency or group in question.

 

  • If a sentence ends with a period marking an abbreviation, do not add a second period.

You will need to bring your own towels, sheets, blankets, pillows, etc.

Butte College | 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville CA 95965 | General Information 530.895.2511

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