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Uploaded on on Jun 17, 2021


A punctuation mark is a full stop (Commonwealth English), period (North American English), or full point. It is most commonly employed to indicate the end of a declarative sentence (rather than a question or exclamation); this sentence-terminal usage alone defines the strictest definition of full stop.

The mark is also often used, either alone or in an ellipsis, to denote omitted letters or words. This style is fading, and several initialisms without punctuation (e.g., “UK” and “NATO”) have become accepted standards. A full point is also commonly used at the end of word abbreviations – typically truncations such as Rev. in British use, but not after contractions such as Revd (in American English it is used in both cases).

It is known as a point in Anglophone nations and is used for the decimal point and other reasons. It’s known as a dot in computing. To distinguish it from the interpunct, it is often referred to as a baseline dot (or middle dot). While the distinction – established since at least 1897 – is not maintained by all current style guides and dictionaries, full stop technically only refers to the full point when used to end a sentence.


The full stop symbol comes from Aristophanes of Byzantium’s introduction of Greek punctuation in the third century bce. There were a succession of dots in his system whose location dictated their significance.

In practice, scribes primarily used the terminal dot; the others were eventually phased out and replaced by other symbols. The full stop began to occur as a low mark (rather than a high one) from the 9th century onwards, and by the time printing began in Western Europe, the lower dot had become regular and eventually ubiquitous.

In North American English, full stops are used following initials, as in A. A. Milne and George W. Bush. The British have a more lenient attitude about use. Some style guides advise against using full stops after initials. However, in order to minimize ambiguity, there is a common tendency and push to spell out names in full rather than abbreviating them.

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