The Full Stop - Punctuation for Students

Writing | Grammar | English in Use


Enhance your language proficiency with our writing activities! As one of the four core skills of language, writing is essential for effective communication. Although it can be challenging to teach remotely, our interactive activities provide an opportunity to practice your writing skills and receive feedback. Whether you're looking to improve your grammar, sentence structure, or vocabulary, our activities are designed to help you improve your writing skills. Start practicing today and take your language proficiency to the next level.


Improve your understanding of English grammar with our comprehensive activities. From aspects and tenses to sentence structures, our activities cover all aspects of English grammar. These activities are suitable for students of English as a second or foreign language and are designed to help improve speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. Learn about the structure of words, phrases, clauses, sentences, and entire texts, as well as the eight parts of speech in English: nouns, determiners, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions. Our activities will help you master the complexities of English grammar and take your language proficiency to the next level. Start mastering English grammar today with our comprehensive activities.  

English in Use

Improve your understanding of everyday English with our English in Use activities! Whether you're a student of English as a second or foreign language, these activities focus on the practical use of the language, covering grammar, punctuation, and functional language. These interactive activities will help you improve your speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. You will develop your confidence in using different types of text such as fiction, newspapers, and magazines. You will also learn to speak and write about everyday topics such as the weather, travel, and more, and prepare you for real-life situations such as ordering in a restaurant or buying a train ticket. Enhance your English language proficiency with our English in Use activities today!

CategoriesPopularNewestOldestRandomCoursesIPAChallengesFree DownloadsVideos Support Us

The full stop or period is the most commonly used punctuation mark in English. The most common use of the full stop is to mark the end of declaratory sentences. It can also be placed after initial letters used to stand for a name, as in R.I. Chalmers, and also to mark the individual letters of some acronyms and abbreviations. While first introduced by Aristophanes of Byzantium in the third century, the full stop in its current position became popular from the ninth century onwards, and once movable type printing had become established, the full stop as we know it became the norm. It is not a difficult piece of punctuation to use, and is far easier to use than the comma. This lesson has a video that will tell you all about the full stop and how to use it, and a quiz to check your understanding of some of the vocabulary in the video.

In the 3rd century BC, a bloke from Byzantium called Aristophanes fancied himself as a bit of a writer. The problem was that whatever Aristophanes wrote people would say to him, “It’s all Greek to me, Ari.” Aristophanes threw down his pen in despair, realising that there was no point in writing if nobody knew where one idea finished and another began. As luck would have it, his pen struck the page and left a small dot. “Eureka!” he cried. “Now I can put a stop to all those complaints.” In fact, he put three stops to it; one at the top of the line, one in the middle of the line, and one on the baseline. Aristophanes’ full stop was the dot which was placed at the top of the line, not the one on the baseline. Gradually, however, his middle and bottom dots were soon forgotten because Aristophanes forgot to tell people what they were for. By the 9th century, the confused scribes were beginning to place all of their full stops on the baseline. When moveable type printing appeared in Europe in the 14th century, a decision had to be made: top, middle or bottom? Bottom was chosen, because Gutenberg was more of a bottom man, and the rest, as they say, is history, even if it’s not very accurate history. The Americans still use the printer’s term period for any baseline dot, while the British adopted the term full stop in the 20th century. They opted for the full stop as the word period sounded altogether too rude for the sensitive British ear. Picasso might have had his blue period, but his wife’s period was something else again. If Aristophanes had copyrighted the full stop, his descendants would have been very rich, as half of all punctuation in printed texts are full stops. The full stop is found at the end of declarative sentences, on computer keyboards, and right at the pointy end of pencils and pens. A full stop is not found at the end of a question, however, nor an interjection, nor an exclamation! At the end of the sentence, the full stop tells us that the sentence has come to a full stop and won’t be going anywhere else in a hurry, and no mistake. That is, to cut a long story short, there is no more to be said by that sentence as that sentence is finished and ended and has absolutely nothing more to say to the world, so help it, God. After the full stop, the following sentence must always be started by a writer, who must always use a capital letter. Yet the magnificent powers of the full stop do not end there, not by any means, I must say. We also use them after some abbreviations such as Dr. for doctor, or Prof. for professor. If such abbreviations come at the end of a sentence, we do not use two full stops, as you might expect. Initials are also marked with full stops, as in R. I. Chalmers, Page 2 The Full Stop or me, as I like to call myself. Full stops used to be used in acronyms, as in the U.K., but this is now an anachronism. The Internet has brought new opportunities for the full stop that Aristophanes could scarcely have dreamed about. On the Internet, however, we call the full stop a dot and there is no point calling it anything else. In mathematics, however, I ought to point out that we do call the full stop a point and it’s pointless to call it anything else. The point is used to separate decimals from the whole numbers, as in 3.141592653589793238 …you get the idea. And that’s all I have to say about the full stop, full stop.

If you are on a mobile device, or want to open the lesson in a new window, click the button below. The lesson will open in a popup window.

Popup Lesson

Report Problem Support Us

Study Record

Not Complete!

You have not completed this lesson yet. To complete it, click the Complete Lesson button.

Complete Lesson Completed Lessons

Learn English with the most innovative and engaging English lessons available anywhere on the Internet and all completely free of charge! To personalise your experience in the Britlish Library and to keep track of the lessons you have studied, sign up for a free account today.