Full stops in essays and term papers
sample from downloadable HTML program or PDF book
1. Full stops in essays (a full stop is sometimes called a ‘period’) are used at the end of complete sentences – like this one.
2. The only common exception to this rule occurs when the sentence is a question or an exclamation (both of which should be avoided in academic essays).
Is this question really necessary?
What a mess!
Notice that both these marks of punctuation have their own built-in full stop.
3. The stop is also used following abbreviations:
ibid. No. 1 ff. e.g.
4. The stop is not necessary following common titles which are shortened forms of a word (technically, contractions):
Dr Mr St Mme
5. Full stops are not necessary after the initial capital letters commonly used as abbreviations for the titles of organisations and countries:
NATO BBC UNESCO USA
6. They are not used where the initial letters of a standard work of reference is used as an abbreviated title:
OED [Oxford English Dictionary]
DNB [Dictionary of National Biography]
PMLA [Papers of the Modern Languages Association]
7. No full stop is required if a sentence ends with a title or an abbreviation which contains its own punctuation:
He is the editor of Which?
She gave her address as ‘The Manor, Wilts.’
8. Full stops should not be used after titles, headings, or sub-headings.
The Turn of the Screw
Industrial Policy Report
9. The stop is normally placed inside quotation marks but outside a parenthesis:
"What joy we had that particular day."
Profits declined (despite increased sales).
10. However, if the quotation is part of another statement, or the parenthesis is a complete sentence, the full stop goes inside:
Mrs Higginbottam whispered "They’re coming".
There was an earthquake in Osaka. (Another had occurred in Tokyo the year previously.)
© Roy Johnson 2003
Essay writing links
- Writing Essays 3.0 (.html)
Writing Essays 3.o covers every aspect of essay writing – from note-taking and making essay plans to referencing and avoiding plagiarism. Learn how to write good introductions, use quotations effectively, and construct persuasive arguments. Suitable for all students in further and higher education. Includes a wide range of sample essays in humanities and social sciences. […]
- Writing Essays (.pdf)
Writing essays made easy! Improve your essay writing skills – from analysing questions and creating introductions to submitting finished essays. This eBook covers reports, dissertations, and term papers. Learn how to develop your English grammar, clarify your thinking, and plan your writing. The book includes five sample essays on current affairs, history, philosophy, sociology, and […]
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