These four terms often confuse people because we translate them all into English with the word “period”, but the difference is actually quite simple. A period at the end of a sentence is called a period in American English and a full stop in British English, even when we pronounce it for emphasis – for example, a father arguing with his daughter might say, “You’re not going out with Zack, period.”
- You are not going out with Zack, period.
- You are not going out with Zack, full stop. [Br. Ang.]
The term dot is used when we read domain names. For example, “www.wat4english.com” would read
“Double U double U double U dot WatFourEnglish dot com”
It is worth noting here that WWW stands for “World Wide Web”, which when read has 3 times more syllables than the name it abbreviates.
Finally, point is the term we use for a decimal point (English doesn’t use a decimal point, so 3.14 would be written 3.14). So we read:
- 3.14 = “three point one four”
- 36.952 = “thirty six point nine five two”
- .25 = “zero point two five”, or also just .25 = “point two five”