Back to Section Home

The Period

TIP Sheet

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.


  • 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

Back to Top