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A full stop or period, also called a full point, is the punctuation mark commonly placed at the end of several different types of sentences in English and several other languages. A period consists of a small dot placed at the end of a line of text, thus: "." (sans quotes).
The term full stop is generally differentiated from that of period in contexts where both might be used by the fact that a full stop is specifically referential of a delimiting punctuation, while a period involves any appropriately sized and placed dot in English language text, to include indicating abbreviation, but excluding certain special uses of dots at the bottom of a line of text like ellipses.
The term full stop is also used, vernacularly, to terminate a phrase or thought with finality and emphasis, as in "I told him I was leaving him, full stop."
The period is also used after abbreviations, such as Mr., Dr., Mrs., Ms. If the abbreviation is ending a declaratory sentence a second period is not needed (e.g. My name is Phil Simpson M.D.) but in the case of an interogative or exclamatory sentence a question or exclamation mark is needed. (In the UK, abbreviations that end in the same letter as the word they are abbreviating are often no longer followed by a full stop. In the USA, the older usage is still always adhered to.)
For more on this use see Decimal separator.
Spacing after full stop
In typewritten texts and other documents printed in uniform-width fonts, there is a widely respected convention that two spaces are placed after the full stop (along with the other sentence enders: question mark and exclamation mark), as opposed to the single space used after other punctuation symbols.
In modern English language typographical usage, some debate has arisen around the proper number of trailing spaces after a full stop to separate sentences within a paragraph. Whereas two spaces are still regarded by many experts to be the better usage for monospace typefaces, the awkwardness that most keyboards and word-processing software have in representing correctly the 1.5 spaces that had previously become standard for typographically proportional (non-monospace) fonts has led to some confusion about how to render the space between sentences using only word-processing tools. Many descriptivists support the notion that a single space after a full stop should be considered standard because of the growing common usage by non-experts. Many prescriptivists, meanwhile, adhere to the earlier, and in some ways more practically useful, use of two spaces to make the separation of sentences more salient than separation of elements within sentences. Some, however, accept that in modern word-processing the single space is better because two spaces may stretch inordinately when full justification is applied.
With the advent of standardized HTML for rendering webpages, the broader distinction between full stop spacing and internal spacing in a sentence has become largely moot on the World Wide Web. Standardized HTML treats additional whitespace after the first space as immaterial, and ignores it when rendering the page. A common workaround for this is the use of to represent extra spaces, and is done automatically by WYSIWYG editors.
Chinese full stop
In Chinese, the partition sign "．" (間隔號 jiāngéhào, Unicode:
U+FF0E - FULLWIDTH FULL STOP) is used to separate the given name and the family name of Westerners, or unsinicized or desinicized minority Chinese ethnic peoples, for example, 威廉．莎士比亞 (Weilian．Shashibiya) is the transliteration of "William Shakespeare", and the partition sign is inserted in between the characters of "William" and those of "Shakespeare".
The Chinese language, like many others, does not use space or punctuation to define word boundaries when writing native words. The Chinese partition sign is also used to separate book title and chapter title when they are mentioned consecutively (with book title first, then chapter).
See dot for other dots or periods
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