A period is a full stop. It marks the end of a sentence. It marks the end of an idea or a thought. It marks the end of an action. After a period, something entirely new begins. It’s final: nothing is up for debate.
In formal writing, the period is going to be the most common end-of-sentence punctuation mark as questions are (theoretically) being answered, not asked, and exclamation marks are discouraged because of the tone they imply. Periods have a certain finality, but it’s less forceful than an exclamation mark. Periods can be used at the end of imperative (telling someone to do something) or declarative (explaining something) sentences.
I’m not asking again. Do the dishes, please.
If it rains, remember to bring an umbrella.
On Sunday, we went for a walk in the park: it was really nice out.
Martha lay in the hammock, thinking about what she would write in her history essay.
When the doorbell rang, Matthew just ignored it.
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