Periods, exclamation marks, and question marks - Graduate Writing Center

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Periods, Exclamation Points, and Question Marks


Oh my!

Use a period to

  • signal the end of an idea; just make sure it is a complete idea
  • punctuate sentences and bulleted/numbered lists; just make sure they are complete sentences and bulleted/numbered lists
  • end abbreviated words (Dr. for Doctor, St. for Street)
  • separate lowercase abbreviated letters (e.g., p., pp., et al.)
  • ensure you are correctly applying a citation style’s format

Periods relative to quotation marks:

  • Periods appear within quotation marks: He heard her sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”         

 

Question marks relative to other punctuation:

  • Question marks appear inside quotation marks, parentheses, or brackets only when part of the quoted or parenthetical material:
    • He asked, “Do you believe in ghosts?”
    • That dog (or is it a wolf?) is gonna be huge!
  • Question marks appear outside quotation marks when the question is not part of the sentence: Did he really ask me if “I believed in ghosts”?
    • Why didn’t he ask for the time off until today (Tuesday)?
    • “What do you suppose he had in mind,” inquired Newman, “when he said, ‘You are all greater fools than I thought’?”

 

Use an exclamation point

  • sparingly. Do not use an exclamation point in academic writing unless it already exists in a quotation.

Exclamation points relative to other punctuation

  • Exclamation points appear inside quotation marks, parentheses, or brackets when part of the quoted material:
    • He sang the Beatles’ “Help!” more than any other song.
    • The article “Midway!” posed some thoughtful points.

 

Periods, Exclamation Points, and Question Marks Links

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All-Topics Index


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A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

A

abbreviations

abstracts

academic writing

acronyms

active voice

adjectives, compound

advisor, selecting and working with

apostrophes

appointment with GWC coaches, how to schedule

argument

article usage

assignments, understanding them

audience

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B

body paragraphs

brackets, square

brainstorming

building better sentences tips

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C

capitalization

citations

citation software

citation styles

clauses

clarity

clustering

coaching, about

coaching, how to schedule

colons

comma splices

commas, FANBOYS

commas, introductory

commas, list

commas, nonessential / nonrestrictive information

commas, Oxford

commas, serial

common knowledge

commonly confused words 

compare-and-contrast papers

compound adjectives / modifiers

concision

conclusions

conference presentations

conjunctive adverbs

coordinating conjunctions

copyright and fair use

critical thinking  

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D

dangling modifiers

dashes

dependent clauses

dependent marker words

display equations

distance learning

double submission of coursework

drafting

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E

editing your own work

editing: outside editors

em dash

en dash

exclamation points

executive summary

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F

FANBOYS

FAQs

first person, use of in academic writing

footnotes

fragments

free-writing

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G

gerunds

grammar

group writing

GWC appointment, how to schedule

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H

homophones

Honor Code, NPS

hyphens

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I

ibid.

incomplete sentences

independent clauses

introductions

iThenticate

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J

Joining the Academic Conversation

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L

LaTeX

library liaisons

lists, syntax of

literature reviews 

logic and analysis 

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M

making a GWC appointment

mathematics

memos

methodology

modifiers, compound

modifiers, misplaced

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N

nominalizations

note-taking

noun clusters

numbers

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O

organization

outlining

Oxford comma

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P

paragraph development 

parallelism

paraphrasing

parentheses

parts of speech

passive voice

periods

persuasion

phrases vs. clauses

plagiarism, how to avoid

plagiarism-detection software

plain language

polishing

prepositional phrases 

prepositions

pronouns, clarity with

pronouns, grammar of

publishing

punctuation

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Q

questions

quotation marks 

quoting

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R

Reading with Intent I

Reading with Intent II

redundancies                                                                

reference software

reflection papers 

research

research questions

restrictive vs. nonrestrictive information

reusing papers

reverse outlining

revision

roadmaps

run-on sentences 

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S

scheduling a GWC appointment

self-citing

semicolons

sentence fragments

serial comma

signal phrases

significance

so what?

source blending

sources, engaging with / critiquing

sources, evaluating the reliability of

sources, citing

spelling

standard essay structure

STEM / technical writing

Strategic Reading I

Strategic Reading II

style

subject–verb agreement

subjects, grammatical

subordinating conjunctions

summarizing

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T

technical writing

that vs. which

thesis writing

thesis advisor, selecting and working with

thesis process overview

thesis process tips

thesis proposals: common elements                                                     

thesis statements

this, that, these, those

tone, professional

topic sentences 

transitions

types of papers

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U

United States or U.S.?

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V

verbs and verb tense

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W

which vs. that

Why write?

writer’s block 

writing process

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Z

Zotero

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