A full stop marks the end of a sentence, unless it is a question or exclamation. Users need them to scan text and to recognise decimal values.
Complete a sentence with a full stop
Full stops mark the end of a sentence that is not a question or an exclamation.
Following the same rule, use full stops at the end of the last item in a list that’s made up of sentence fragments.
The committee met yesterday. It discussed:
- office space
- working hours
- managers’ salaries
Use the final full stop because this type of list is a sentence presented as points to make it easier to read.
Use full stops with some numbers and shortened forms
Also use full stops:
- as the decimal point in numbers and currency – for example, ‘$3.55’
- in numbering subsections and paragraphs in a document – for example, ‘Section 7.3’
- in some Latin shortened forms and shortened forms used in referencing.
Don’t end web or email addresses with full stops
Do not use a full stop after a web or email address if it’s part of a sentence fragment or on a line by itself.
Write full stops in email and web addresses when you use the full form rather than link text (for example, ‘dfat.gov.au’ instead of linking ‘the DFAT website’).
Ensure link text doesn’t include a full stop
Use full stops at the end of sentences with link text, but don’t include the full stop in the link itself.
The People team manages the add a new employee form
The People team manages the add a new employee form.
Write headings, measurements and captions without full stops
Don’t use full stops in:
- stand-alone lists (stand-alone lists have a heading without a colon)
- page headers or footers.
Full stops do not go after:
- symbols or units of measurement (unless the symbol or unit is also at the end of a sentence)
- captions and titles.
Don’t add a full stop after hashtags, emojis or handles
Use correct punctuation in government social media. You don’t need a full stop if your post ends in:
- a web address (URL)
- a tag or handle
- a hashtag
- an emoji
- a sentence fragment.
Punctuate text messages (SMS) correctly
In government text messages, use correct punctuation and grammar to avoid ambiguity. Correct writing shows people that the text is authoritative and trustworthy.
Include a full stop at the end of a text message if it finishes with a sentence. Don’t include a full stop if the message ends with a fragment or sign off.
Warning: there is a high probability of hail in your area
. Please take appropriate precautions and stay safe
. Time sent: 4:30 pm AEST
The digital edition consolidates information on full stops with a focus on online content. It removes the requirement to use full stops with abbreviations. Evidence from Australian corpora supports this change. It is consistent with guidance to use minimal punctuation.
The sixth edition mentions full stops in several sections including punctuation, abbreviations, numbers and citations.
The Content Guide had brief information about the full stop in several sections. It advised against using a full stop after an email address or bare URL to end a sentence. The digital edition advises to omit a full stop when the email address or bare URL is a fragment or on a line by itself (such as in an email signature block).
About this page
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This page was updated Monday 21 September 2020.