English versus American punctuation

Something has been puzzling me lately about British punctuation. There just does not seem to be enough of it. First of all there is the leaving off of the full-stop after “Dr” which in American would be “Dr.” But even more than that, it seems to come up in email too. I just received a note that looked like this:

Dear Martha

Happy New Year

(content of the note) blah blah blah

Best wishes


My response would look likely look more like this:

Dear Roger,

Happy New Year to you too!

(content of the response) blah blah blah

Best wishes,


What am I missing here? What’s with the aversion to commas and full-stops? It’s like trying to read e.e. cummings.


3 responses to “English versus American punctuation

  1. Uh-oh, you have already been there too long — what’s with the “full-stops”?

    Here’s a little something nostalgic from children’s television (KTCA Channel 2):

    “A period is just a little dot,
    But it occupies a very special spot.
    If you should see a period, my friend,
    Then you know the sentence’ just came to an end.”

  2. belle hooks is harder to read than e.e. cummings- at least e.e. has some coherence to his writing, and uses periods with his initials… (see- no full stop! I do dot dot dot perhaps I belong in the UK?)

  3. Pingback: News Headlines and Punctuation « Not From Around Here

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