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  1. #1
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    Use of the full stop/period

    Hi to all. This is my first post and hope someone can help with a perplexing problem I've just uncountered.

    I recently joined a company where they do not use the full stop/period except to terminate a sentence. For example, they do not use it for any of the following abbreviations:
    Mr.
    Mrs.
    Jr.
    etc.
    e.g.
    i.e.
    Ltd.
    co. (company)
    a person's middle initial (John D. Doe)
    et. al.
    fig. (figure)
    viz.
    approx.


    Some of these I can understand, but others seem completely daft.

    This firm also does not use the full stop for bullet/number lists – even when they are complete sentences. Worse still, if a list item has two sentences, only the first sentence is terminated with the full stop; the second goes without!

    I read a thread here posted in 2005 in which the “Tdol” said that “…the general tendency is moving towards not bothering with the punctuation more and more – you rarely see acronyms and other abbreviations punctuated…”

    Who is deciding what is and is not punctuated? In USA, there are very good reference guides, like the Chicago Manual of Style and MLA Formatting and Style Guide for technical papers, that provide a point of agreement for writers and proofreaders. But, here in the UK I haven’t seen anything definitive. I’m worried because I see so many mistakes in grammar and punctuation here, it is difficult to know what or who to believe -- it seems completely chaotic!

    Many thanks.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Use of the full stop/period

    Ultimately, people decide what is and is not punctuated. Also, in BrE, when an abbreviation ends with the final letter of the word it abbreviates, in BrE there is no need to add a full-stop, so Mr is not incorrect in BrE. What is driving the other changes (approx) is, I believe, quite simply the fact that people write their own letter nowadays and find it easier to save the keystrokes. It's being driven by pragmatics- it's easier not to type the full-stop than to type it; whether you are for or against it is another question, but language will always define itself. My father dictated his letters to his secretary, but I write my own; I think that is the driving force, for better or for worse.

  3. #3
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Use of the full stop/period

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    ... What is driving the other changes (approx) is, I believe, quite simply the fact that people write their own letter nowadays and find it easier to save the keystrokes. It's being driven by pragmatics- it's easier not to type the full-stop than to type it; whether you are for or against it is another question, but language will always define itself. My father dictated his letters to his secretary, but I write my own; I think that is the driving force, for better or for worse.
    Another driver is graphic designers - when I worked for OUP I often had run-ins with designers who thought apostrophes made a title look visually cluttered.

    (And in the UK 'there are very good reference guides, like the Chicago Manual of Style and MLA Formatting and Style Guide for technical papers, that provide a point of agreement for writers and proofreaders'. Try Butcher (for CUP style) or Hart's Rules (for OUP style - combined with The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors) for example. But as Tdol says,
    Ultimately, people decide what is and is not punctuated.
    If the company you're working for chooses not to use any of the authorities available, get used to it.

    b

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Use of the full stop/period

    Did you work for OUP or O.U.P.?

  5. #5
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Use of the full stop/period

    I always wrote OUP, but for the reasons you mentioned. I never heard anyone try to pronounce it as an acronym - 'OUP'.

    b

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Use of the full stop/period

    It's OUP to me, but I am a paid-up full-stop slacker.

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