Punctuation forms the backbone of any language. Without proper punctuation marks, it will be difficult to make sense of language, whether in written or spoken form. Commas, semi-colons, question marks and full stops are some of the commonly used punctuation marks. Full stop (.), also called ‘period’, is used to mark the end of a declarative sentence or an imperative sentence. It essentially marks a pause greater than the one marked by a comma and is also used to suggest that there is nothing more to say on a topic, for instance, ‘I like playing football.’ The places where full stop is used can be easily remembered through practice.
1. At the end of a sentence
The main use of full stop is to mark the end of a sentence that is a complete statement. It indicates a long pause before a new or fresh sentence begins. For example,
a. My name is Ajay and I am a doctor.
b. She went to the market. She bought many vegetables and fruits.
2. After initials
Full stops also appear after initials of a person, for example, U.S. (United States), U.K. (United Kingdom), W.B. Yeats (William Butler Yeats) and so on.
3. After abbreviations
It is a common practice to use full stops or periods to mark abbreviations. For instance, ‘Prof.’ for professor, a.m. for ante meridian, p.m. for post meridian, etc. for et cetera and so on. Full stops can be used after the first letter of each abbreviated word, for instance, B.B.C. (British Broadcasting Corporation). It can also be used after a selected group of letters from a word, for instance, St. (street), Mr. (Mister).
4. At the end of commands
Full stops mark the end of a sentence that is a command, that is, that tells someone to do something. For instance, ‘Open the door.’ ‘Pick up the eraser from the floor.’
5. At the end of indirect questions
Full stops are used at the end of sentences that are indirect questions, for instance, ‘I wondered why she bunked the class.’ ‘He asked me why I missed the concert.’ In such cases, instead of a question mark, full stops are used.
6. In websites
Full stops or periods are also used in website addresses, for instance, ‘www.mbarendezvous.com’ and so on. Websites will not work if you do not put the full stop at the appropriate places in a website address.
Full stop, primarily, mark the end of a thought. In the absence of full stops, each sentence will run into the next and the reader will have a tough time segregating two or more sentences. This would also create confusion for the reader or speaker.
Thus, full stops are an important punctuation mark, without which language would become incomplete and difficult to comprehend.
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