Periods, Question Marks and Exclamation Points

Periods, Question Marks and Exclamation Points

A Lesson by Tracie D'Angelo

How to use periods, question marks and exclamation points.



A period is used after every letter in an initial and an abbreviation unless the abbreviation is an acronym. An acronym is an abbreviation for a group of words that acts like a stand alone word. For example, NASA and NASCAR. Generally, they are written in all caps. Don't forget titles! They get periods too! If an abbreviation is at the end of sentence, then it gets only one period.


Mrs. Rowling
J. D. Salinger
Mrs. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series which was popular in the U.K. and U.S.

A period is used before a decimal and between dollars to show money.


My bottle of shampoo holds .16 ounces and costs $3.69.

A period is used at the end of any sentence that makes a statement, makes a request, gives instructions or states a command.


I was bored yesterday.
Can you please not throw your wet towels on the floor.
Drive down 1st street and take the second left on 2nd.
I need you to stop talking.

A period is used at the end of an indirect question. An indirect question is basically relating a question already asked to some else. It is indirectly asked and may not require an answer.


The kids were asking if we had seen their dog.


A question mark is used after a single word, a group of words or a sentence that asks a question.


Stop here?
Can you take me with you to the store?


An exclamation point shows really strong feelings. Those feelings can be happy, sad, angry, surprised, scared, etc. It is used following an interjection. An interjection is a word, group of words or sound that can stand alone. For example, Oh! An exclamation point can also follow questions that aren't really questions.


Darn it!
Ah hah!
Are you kidding me!
Watch out!

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Posted 7 Years Ago

Sorry about that one. I was thinking more of the tone of the sentence. I say a lot of questions at times that aren't really questions nor do I expect answers. :) It probably should have a question mark at the end though. Thanks! :)

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Posted 7 Years Ago

"Can you please not throw your wet towels on the floor." - Actually, that one should have a question mark, since it's phrased as a question. If it said, "Please don't throw your wet towels on the floor," then it would get a period at the end.

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Tracie D'Angelo
Tracie D'Angelo

Annapolis, MD

I'm a 45 year old mom of 2 teens in Maryland (US). I work as an asst. librarian at our local elementary school. I also review books and write the blog for a local book store. I've just revamped my own..