Communication Skills

JS Tip 116: From the Writing Workshops: Where Do the Periods Go?

Tracey Larson of The Bank of American Fork asks this question:

We’re having a disagreement. Which is correct?

I love to eat good food (burgers, fries, etc.).

or

I love to eat good food (burgers, fries, etc).

Good question. We did some research. We found this in The Chicago Manual of Style (Section 6.117): 

Abbreviation-ending periods with other punctuation. When an expression (such as an abbreviation) that takes a period ends a sentence, no additional period follows (see 6.14). Of course, when any other mark of punctuation is needed immediately after the period, both the period and the additional mark appear. 

Notice—

[W]hen any other mark of punctuation is needed immediately after the period, both the period and the additional mark appear. 

We take that to mean a period ends the abbreviation ("etc."), a closing parenthesis ends the parenthetical thought, and a period ends the sentence: 

I love to eat good food (burgers, fries, etc.). 

That’s three punctuation marks in a row, but each serves a separate purpose. Cool, huh? We love this stuff.

Next week: Some tips on proposal-writing.