It seems like such a simple thing. When writing a basic sentence, you end it with a period (also known as a full-stop).
Obviously, when asking a question you use a question mark (?), and you follow up an exclamation with an exclamation point (!). You might be leading into a list of items and need a colon (:), or be writing dialogue that drifts off so that you need an ellipsis (…).
But, usually, almost all the time, you’re going to end your sentences with a period. That’s that little dot at the end.
I mention this because, more and more often, I see e-mails and blog posts chock-full of pretty much every other possible means of ending a sentence, with nary a period to be seen. Really, though, it’s simple. Approximately 98% of the time, you should use a period to end a sentence. Every now and again, for emphasis or as a means of signifying that you’re asking a question, you will need to use something else, but you shouldn’t let the others become a habit.
I’ll admit that I do this too often, myself. I’m far to fond of using ellipses at the ends of my sentences, especially when making suggestions in an e-mail. I like to think that it makes me seem less bossy that way, that I’m leaving the final decision up to the reader. But, really, I’m just fooling myself. I know perfectly well that what that really does is make me a sloppy writer. And that’s not usually the impression I want to make….