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Termination Marks

Terminating marks have a very straightforward function - to end sentences.

There are three types of terminating mark: full stops, exclamation marks and question marks. For now we will concentrate on the first two examples and consider the question mark in its own separate section here:

punctuation question marks

One exception is the use of multiple full-stops to indicate breaks in direct quotations or direct speech. The convention is to use three full stops to indicate such a break:

Note that the 'we' after the three full stops begins with a lower-case 'w' - this is a rare situation where this is permissible. In most circumstances, a termination mark must be followed by a capital letter.

Care needs to be taken over where full stops are positioned when used in with brackets and quotation marks. A full stop always falls outside a closing bracket, but inside a final quotation mark:

Full stops are also used with abbreviations, such as e.g. (for example), i.e. (that is), etc. (and the rest) and no. (number). This is another situation where a full stop is followed by a lower-case letter, as the full stop is not indicating the end of a sentence. A full stop in these circumstances can also be followed by other punctuation marks:

An exclamation mark works grammatically in the same way as a full stop, but is used to turn a statement into an exclamation of anger, joy, surprise, irony etc. For example:

Using an exclamation mark is considered informal and would normally only be appropriate in an essay as part of a direct quotation. Exclamation marks follow the same punctuation rules as full stops, apart from with brackets and quotation marks. An exclamation mark always comes inside a final bracket and does not signal the end of the main sentence, so the closing bracket is followed by a full stop or a lower-case letter:

Likewise, an exclamation mark within a direct quotation does not necessarily signal the end of the main sentence:

But if it does, no full-stop is needed after the closing quotation mark, as it is with brackets:

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