A sentence offers a complete thought with “who” “did what” (independent clause).
It may add “to whom/what” and how it was done. A sentence may contain more than one such thought.
End of the double space rule
Only one space after a period? Really? Yes, the rule has changed if you went to school more than several years ago. Two spaces after every sentence adds up to more pages. And with computer type spacing, the double space is not needed.
- This is the first sentence. This is the second sentence. Only one space separates them.
- He can’t wait that long. You have to get here sooner.
- Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.
- Famous animals lived in Farmer Brown’s barnyard. The cow jumped over the moon. The three little pigs built different houses. The goose laid a golden egg every day.
- Two plus two equals four. Four plus our equals eight.
- My name is Helen. Her name is Samantha.
- Personal initials usually have a single space between them (after the period.)
- The postal code for each state is NOT an abbreviation, so it does not take any periods (except at the end of a sentence).
- Titles should not be abbreviated unless they come before a name.
- If the last word in a sentence is an abbreviation (not common), its period is also the ending period.
- An exclamation mark or a question mark may follow the final period of an abbreviation.
- A comma may follow the period after the abbreviation if the sentence requires it.
Examples of initials and abbreviations:
- I. B. Cat
- C. D. Dog
- Prof. George H. Hamilton
- Dr. Johnathon Carson
- Mr. John C. Doe
- Martin Hapsburg, Jr.
- Martin Hapsburg Jr.
- (Comma optional)
- 7:00 a.m. or 7:00 A.M.
- or 7:00 pm or 7:00 PM
- (periods not required)
- 715 B.C. or 715 BC
- 715 B.C.E. or 715 BCE
- 1492 A.D. or 1492 AD
- (Anno Domino)
- 1492 C.E. or 1492 CE
- (Common Era)
- St. Francis of Assisi
- Prof. Harold Carson
- i.e. (not capitalized)
- Dec. 25
- Jan. 1
- 30 degrees F. (Fahrenheit)
- 20 degrees C. (Celsius)
- Fargo, ND
- Albany, NY
- He lived in Omaha, NE, for his first three years, but he grew up in Kansas City, MO.
- H.M.S. Pinafore was not Her Majesty’s Ship, but rather a comic opera.
- The meeting was scheduled for 8:30 a.m., but nobody arrived until 9:15 a.m.
- Did John C. Doe really name his son, John C. Doe Jr.?
- John C. Doe Jr. became a doctor.
- St. Francis of Assisi is known for his love of animals.
- Caesar Augustus died on August 19, A.D. 14, but he was born on September 23, 63 B.C., spanning two different time periods.
- The school board meeting will be held in the library at 7:00 P.M.
- Eleanor Roosevelt’s daughter’s official name was Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Jr. (Her mother’s first name was Anna.)
The confines of lists, indexes, tables, notes, and bibliographies may require abbreviations.
- In his first five years of life, he lived in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; Raleigh, North Carolina; Nevada, Missouri; and Manhattan, Kansas.
- Spanish is the primary language of all countries in South America except Brazil (Portuguese), Surinam (Dutch), French Guiana (French), and Guyana (British English).
Mailing addresses should use the capitalized two-letter zip code with no periods.
- My old address was 0001 Last Street, Nowheresville, NP (which stood for NoPlace).
- The letter sent to 1812 Harbor Street, Ann Arbor, MI, went instead to Minnesota, where there is no Ann Arbor.
Acronyms are not abbreviations, so they do not use periods after/between the letters.
Acronyms use the first letter of each word to create a capitalized “word” representing the organization or country or verbiage.
Technically, USA is an acronym, not an abbreviation, so it does not take periods. However, common usage sometimes inserts periods.
- NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- GED = General Educational Development
- BTW = by the way
- ABC = American Broadcasting Company
- NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration
- WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get
No periods come between or after the two letters.
Mailing address include
- Name of individual or company
- Street address
- City state zip code
Some addresses include something like a suite number, usually on the line with the street address.
Sometimes a Post Office Box number will be used with the street number. Technically, the post office delivers to the first of the two (which then should be the PO Box # if no mailbox exists at the street address.
The post office prefers no punctuation between the city and state or the state and zip code. Old timers find it hard not to put a comma between the city and state.
Quotation marks end dialogue. Periods go inside the closing quotation mark.
A period ALWAYS goes inside the closing quotation mark. (So does a comma, but this is the section for periods.)
This is repetitive, but periods end dialogue inside the closing quotation mark.
- I don’t remember her saying, “The store closes at midnight.”
- Mother always used to remind me, “Be home before dark.”
- “Hello,” she said. “I haven’t seen you in a long time.”
- Sirenna recited Carl Sandburg’s poem: “The fog comes in on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.”
- If I came home late, Mother would ask me where I had been.
- They wondered where they were.
- Harriet asked if she could use the phone.
- The Husker fan wondered what the score was. I hesitated to tell him.
- I would like to ask if I can borrow your bicycle.