Monday, January 19, 2009

Editing Tip of the Week: The End of the Sentence, Period

Punctuation is not always easy to figure out. There is confusion regarding the colon and semicolon, as discussed in a previous Tip of the Week. But now the basic period is causing an uproar among sentences. Chicago Manual of Style Online addressed several inquiries about the proper use of a period. One was whether or not to add another period in a sentence ending in an abbreviation, such as I toured the facilities at Glassworks, Inc.

No, you shouldn’t follow a period with another period.

Another question Chicago answered was whether a sentence in parenthesis within a sentence should include a period. No, because the period follows the main sentence. However, a sentence within parenthesis that stands on its own does require a period within the parenthesis. (I should have known that.).

Sometimes the question is when to insert a period. On the Daily Writing Tips Web site, the advice is to keep it simple, period. Each sentence illustrates a complete thought. A period helps to indicate that thought. While there is nothing wrong with using conjunctions to link several thoughts, Daily Writing Tips suggests that this simple idea will make your writing clearer and more readable. Instead of the reader slowly working out the kinks in a long sentence and piecing the thoughts together, the periods help to keep the reading smooth and natural. After all, you want your writing to spark questions on the ideas and thoughts, not your punctuation choices.

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