Stops

The Period

The period is called an "end stop" because it is used at the end of a sentence. More exactly, it closes declarative sentences—those which state a fact, perception, idea, belief, feeling—and it may also close an imperative sentence, or command (though these are often punctuated with an exclamation point).

Abbreviations

The period is used after many abbreviations: Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. When such an abbreviation occurs at the end of a sentence, the period does double duty, closing the sentence as well as marking the abbreviation.

Some abbreviations do not take periods: government agencies, for instance, such as the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) or the GPO (Government Printing Office). If you are uncertain about whether a particular abbreviation requires a period, consult a dictionary or an appropriate manual of style.

Not all abbreviations, incidentally, are allowable in composition. Some are perfectly acceptable: SEC, GPO, or Mr.,

Mrs., Ms., Dr. (Most professors, though, do not like Prof.) Others are not universally accepted. For example, many teachers prefer that instead of &, i.e., etc., and e.g., you write out and, that is, and so on, for example. Colloquial, slangy abbreviations are not acceptable at all: econ and polysci are legitimate enough in conversation, but you should use the full words in composition.

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Project Management Made Easy

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