A full stop is a punctuation mark placed at the end of a sentence to indicate the end of the sentence, which can be a statement, request or command. A full stop is not used at the end of a phrase or subordinate clause.as they are not complete sentences. Doing so will create a sentence fragment. A full-stop is also used after most abbreviations, and is placed within a quotation mark at the end of the quoted sentence.
No full-stop at end of phrase or subordinate clause
Incorrect: I could hear the pot bubbling. On the stove.
(On the stove is a prepositional phrase. There should be no full-stop after a phrase.)
Correct: I could hear the pot bubbling on the stove.
Incorrect: When I saw her yesterday. She was wearing a flowery hat.
(When I saw her yesterday is a subordinate clause. A full-stop should not be used to end it.)
Correct: When I saw her yesterday, she was wearing a flowery hat.
Full-stops and abbreviations
The full-stop is used after most abbreviations.
- Jr., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., Rev., Sr., Wed., Oct.
Individual letters in an acronym do not require full-stops. The trend today is towards writing abbreviations without a full-stop.
- IOU, FBI, NATO, UN, US, UK
Only one full-stop is used if a sentence ends with an abbreviation.
- Her biggest ambition is to successfully complete her M.A.
Most short versions of specific expressions end in a full-stop.
- A.M. / a.m., P.M. / p.m., p.a., e.g.
The full-stop is used to show the shortened form of a word.
- Opp., mo. (Written abbreviatons of opposite, month)
A full stop is always placed inside quotation marks, whether or not it is part of the quotation.
- No: John said, "That runaway horse is not mine".
- Yes: John said, "That runaway horse is not mine.".