The Full Stop – Definition, Functions and Examples

The Full Stop – Definition, Functions and Examples

Glad to know you are here again to check out this educative post, The Full Stop – Definition, Functions and Examples. Aside the comma, the full stop or period is one of the most used punctuation marks in English.

The Full Stop – Definition, Functions and Examples

Like I said, this is one of the popular punctuation marks you are familiar with. In British English, it is called full stop or full point while in American English, it is called period.

Definition of a Period or Full Stop

This is a punctuation mark that we often use at the end of a sentence that is not a question or exclamation. Most sentences in English end with a period, which signals a strong pause. So, the full stop is that mark that signifies a permanent pause or the end of a written utterance.

Uses and Examples of Full Stop/Period

The following are the instances in which we use the full stop or the period:

At the end of a sentence that is not an exclamation or a question

We use the full stop or period at the end of a sentence that is not an exclamation or a question, especially at the end of a declarative sentence or a statement that is complete and which suggests that there is nothing more to say or add to the statement. See these examples:

  • Finally, Albert is here; there is no need for further arguments.
  • When you complete your education, you will travel abroad for further studies.
  • This is a declarative sentence.
  • There are fourteen punctuation marks in English.
  • Good morning, ladies and gentlemen
  • She is finally here.
  • It rained last Saturday.
  • Let us pray.
  • We should go now.
  • By December, I shall have spent fourteen years in the Corporation.

 Indication of a complete cessation

In the connotative sense, full stop indicates a complete cessation; that is when something comes to a grinding halt. For instance:

  • Mothers are usually and generally more caring full stop.
  • The man’s life had simply come to a full stop after the authorities repatriated him.

After Indirect Questions and Courtesy/Polite Questions

We use full stop after indirect questions and courtesy or polite questions. An indirect question is a statement about a question, and a question mark should not follow it. For example:

  • The man asked his son who broke the bottle.
  • The woman asked her children where they went to play.
  • Will you be kind enough to lend me some money. (This is a courtesy question, a polite request expressed as a direct question, but followed by full stop.)
  • He asked if I would be available for the task.
  • We demanded if they would let us do this once and for all.
  • She wonders what has taken place.
  • I asked her where she was coming from.

To Mark at the End of Various Forms of Abbreviations

We also use this punctuation mark at the end of various forms of abbreviations (making a word shorter) such as in titles, names, in dates, before fractions expressed as decimals, between whole numbers, time, etc. For example:

  • p.m., a.m., i.e.
  • 11 a.m.
  • He works in the I. T. Department.
  • The U. S. government pledged support in aid.
  • S. V. P. to Shawn Norris on 012 345 6789.
  • His friend, Tom hardy Jr. arrived Nigeria Apr. 14, 2011.
  • , Rd., Mr., Mrs., Mar., Aug., Dec., Dr.
  • 008, 1.2, 3. 30p.m, 0.5, 2.4, 0.01,
  • B. Jerry, R. C. Sproul, J. F. Kennedy, W. B. Yeats, M. A. K. Halliday, etc.

It should be noted that the practice of using periods of full stops for abbreviations is not as popular as before. For instance: PhD, Dr, Mr, Mrs, OUP, NHS, CNN, BBC, DSTV, etc. The period is increasingly omitted in abbreviations, especially after capital letters; for instance, VCR, CBT, DVD, LCD, etc.

It is also important to note that when an abbreviation contains the last letter, there is no need to add a full stop. For instance:  Ltd (Limited), Rd (Road), Rvd (Reverend)

Shortened forms that we use as words in their own rights like gym, disco, pub, etc. and acronyms that we pronounce as words, such as: AIDS, LASER, NATO, etc. are usually not written with periods or full stops. In other words, some abbreviations that result from initial letters such as OPEC. UNESCO, WHO, etc. do not contain full stops anymore.

To separate units of money

This indicates the amount of money less than a whole currency. For instance:

$45.99, N8.5m, £5.20, €18.25

Note that when an abbreviation that already has a full stop comes at the end of a sentence, there is no need to add another full stop, as in: they ate rice, meat, chicken, etc.

To mark the end of a group of words uncategorised as a conventional sentence

We use full stop to mark the end of a group of words that we cannot categorise as a conventional sentence for the purpose of emphasising a statement. For example:

  • She kept asking irrelevant questions. Over and over again.
  • It comes and goes. Now and then.

In Websites and Email Addresses

In the way we write websites and email addresses, we use the full stop where it is read as “dot” (.com). For instance:

Where We do not Use Full Stop

There are certain places or instances where we do not use the full stop. We do not use period at the end of titles of essays, reports, headlines, books, films, letters, etc.

Closing Thoughts

So much to say and learn about this important punctuation mark in English! I am certain you have gained some useful knowledge in this post The Full Stop – Definition, Functions and Examples. You can check out other punctuation marks that I have also put together for your reading pleasure. Do not forget to share this knowledge and connect with us on our Social Media platforms. It is just a click away. See you around.

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