How To Use Periods, Question Marks and Exclamation Marks

How To Use Periods, Question Marks and Exclamation Marks

How To Use Periods, Question Marks and Exclamation Marks

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Sentence_Ending_teamToday’s writing tips teach our readers and writers a little bit about the punctuation marks that mark the end of something: The Period, Question Mark and Exclamation Mark. They signal the end of the sentence.

Here are some facts about these three:

  • They are all end marks; that is, they are used at the end of a sentence.
  • All three marks of punctuation have the same function: to indicate a full stop.
  • They all show the end of a complete thought.
  • They can all prevent run-on sentences.


The-PeriodIn punctuation, the full stop (in British English) or period (in American English) is the punctuation mark placed at the end of a sentence ( . ). The full stop glyph is sometimes called a baseline dot because, typographically, it is a dot on the baseline. Here’s when to use it:

  • After a complete sentence.
    • Example: Albania is a beautiful country in Europe.
  • After a command.
    • Example: Don’t tell him that I’m here.
  • After most abbreviations.
    • Example: Dr., Ms., or Jr.
  • After an initial
    • Example: John F. Kennedy
  • After a Roman numeral, letter or number in an outline.
    • Example: I.
  • After an abbreviation.
    • Example: Etc.
  • Before a quotation mark that ends a sentence.
    • Example: “Byrek is a traditional Albanian dish.”
  • punctuation stop signs periodNever use a period after the individual letters in an acronym.
    • Example: write USA, not U.S.A.
  • Never end a sentence with more than one period. If you end a sentence with an abbreviation, you just need that period.
    • Example: She wanted to go home first to get the clothes, shoes, etc.
  • Do not use three periods ( . . . ),  unless you know what you’re doing.  The use of three periods is called an ellipses and does not end sentences. It is an entirely different punctuation marker which indicates omission, usually within quoted material.  The use of an ellipses in English is an extremely rare thing , however these days has become wildly overused for pauses.
    • Example: “I learned this . . . : that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, . . . he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Question Marks

question markThe question mark ( ? ), also known as the interrogation point, query, and eroteme, is a punctuation mark that indicates an interrogative sentence, clause, or phrase in many languages.

  • Use a question mark after a question.
    • Example: How do you say “question mark” in Albanian?
  • Place the question mark inside of closing quotation marks if it is part of the quotation.
    • Example: When I was reading Edith Durham, I asked myself, “How did she draw so well?”
  • Place the question mark outside of the closing quotation marks if it is not part of the quotation.
    • Example: Was it Lord Byron who said, “The Albanians, these tigers of mountain wars … have as their religion rebellion. Even their worst warrior is one of the strongest and bravest on the battle-field, just as if he was a knight on the legendary horse. But he has no horse, nor proper weapons for battle. Instead of the horse, he has a lance which strikes as lightning, he has spears who’s points are full of posion as the sting of hornets, he has also a wooden bow with some arrows. Furthermore, he is stronger than iron”? (In such a circumstance, it’s okay to drop the period from the quotation.)

Exclamation Marks

downloadThe exclamation mark or exclamation point is a punctuation mark usually used after an interjection or exclamation to indicate strong feelings or high volume (shouting), and often marks the end of a sentence.

  • Use an exclamation mark after an exclamatory sentence.
    • Example: Albanian people are the best!

Do not combine an exclamation mark with a period, comma, or question mark.

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