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Best grammar advice period

Updated on June 5, 2012

By LESLIE A. PANFIL

It is the simplest of punctuation marks. It is one of the first things you learn about writing in grade school. But, when it comes to spacing and tricky abbreviations, it can give us all a run for our money. The period –

Spacing Out. Although common in other languages, in English you shouldn’t place a space between the last letter of a sentence and a period.

Right: This is right.

Wrong: This is wrong .

Only One. Sentences ending with an abbreviation do not need another period.

Right: Dinner is at 6 p.m.

Wrong: Dinner is at 6 p.m..

This rule only applies to sentences that end with a period. When the sentence is a question, you should end with a question mark. Example: I dinner at 6 p.m.?

Inside Quotation. The period goes in the inside of quotation marks.

Right: “He called the bill flawed.”

Wrong: “He called the bill flawed”.

Beware: This is a rule that your spell/grammar checker might not catch.

Indirect Question. Periods not question marks should be used at the end of an indirect question.

Example: I used to wonder why my paper came back in a sea of red.

Periods vs. Comas. I’ve been known to write a run on sentence or two. But, for clarity, consider breaking your sentences up with periods. Some writers are particularly prone to jumbled up sentences. Most awkward sentences contain one too many ideas.

Example: While there might not be anything grammatically wrong with a sentence, your writing may benefit from the power of less complicated sentence structure.

Example: There might not be anything grammatically wrong with your sentence. However, it may be more impactful to break up your ideas into two sentences.

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