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Punctuation Styles

Although there are general rules for English punctuation, there can be differences of style. For example, some people don't put a full stop (period) after abbreviations (Dr, Ltd); others do (Dr., Ltd.). Some people don't use an apostrophe in the plural form of dates (1990s); others do (1990's). Some prefer single quotation marks ('example') rather than double quotation marks ("example").

These differences in punctuation style can be found between:

British/American punctuation BrE AmE
BrE includes punctuation inside quotation marks only if part of the quoted material Helpful means "ready to help". Helpful means "ready to help."
BrE tends to use more "open punctuation" for abbreviations Mr, Mrs, Dr, Rd Mr., Mrs., Dr., Rd.
The (  ) symbols are called brackets parentheses
The [  ] symbols are called square brackets brackets

The above differences are shown as guidelines only, and are not always observed. The most important thing in any single work (be it examination essay, business report, newspaper or book) is to choose one style and be consistent throughout.

Anyone seeking guidance at an advanced level is recommended to consult a style guide (often included in good dictionaries) for their particular variety of English or editorial style. Style guides for newspapers and other publications are often available on the Internet and may be found by searching for "[name of publication] style guide" or similar.