That’s it full stop …

full stop

full stop (Photo credit: same_same)

Alas, the sentence is being given a major hammering with the new generation who ignore the purpose of the tiniest punctuation in any language – the full stop, aka full point, point, period and dot. It is recognised as the mark that ends a sentence and is followed by a space before the next sentence (or paragraph) begins. A simple sentence contains just one verb, while the complex sentence can contain several clauses … but that is another story.

I grew up calling it a full stop, so forgive me if I’m a little nostalgic … but one has to settle on something. But I digress. The full stop can also be used at the end of a sentence fragment – a phrase if you like. That means there is no verb, for example, A cup of rice.  The full stop has a few other uses ~ as the decimal point in numbers and currency, in numbering, subsections and paragraphs in a document (for example, Section 7.3). And time, such as 10.30pm.

The full stop has even entered the digital age as the dot in web and email addresses. You will find it at the end of some abbreviations. In Australia, these are abbreviations that end with a letter that is not the last letter of the full word, for example, Rev. for Reverend. But it’s Dr for Doctor because the abbreviation ends with the last letter of the fully spelt out word.

Acronyms (such as ASEAN and Qantas) used to take full stops between each letter, but this is no longer the case in Australia, and I strongly suspect in America and Britain as well.

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