Friday, October 26, 2012

Use of the Period

(This post comes from Susan Titus Osborn.)

A period marks the end of a sentence, followed by one space. (In typewriter days, we left two.) Sometimes we use a period at the end of an incomplete sentence.

* Completed sentence: The storm was almost upon us, so we needed to take shelter.

* Incomplete: Under a tree perhaps.

When an entire sentence is enclosed in parentheses or brackets, the period belongs inside the closing parenthesis or bracket. When a clause or a complete sentence is enclosed within another sentence, the period belongs outside.

* Sharon rewrote her manuscript over and over. (She never tired of editing.)

* She said she would never speak to him again [referring to her former boss].

No period follows chapter titles, subheadings, column headings in tables, dates, signatures, or addresses.

Susan Titus Osborn is the director of the Christian Communicator Manuscript Critique Service. She has authored 30 books. You can reach her at,

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