Closed & open punctuation in English

(Explanation of punctuation in English correspondence)

Table of contents – closed & open punctuation

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Open punctuation
  2. Closed punctuation
  3. Further explanations and exercises

What does open punctuation mean?

The term open punctuation stands for the omission of characters and marks such as full stops (periods), colons, or commas in the address, after the salutation, in abbreviations, etc. in English correspondence. This style of punctuation or writing is a newer appearance that has developed from today’s age of electronic messaging and is, therefore, of a more practical origin. In British business letters, open punctuating is typical and used almost exclusively nowadays. In American English, however, the punctuation rules are somewhat more liberal, and a mix of open and closed punctuation is often seen.

  • Examples of open punctuation (omitting of characters and punctuation marks):
    • ‘Dear Mr Abraham’
      • The full stop for the abbreviation after ‘Mr’ is not written.
    • 12 March 2010’
      • In this date, there are neither full stops nor characters or abbreviations like ‘th’ for the day.

What does closed punctuation mean?

Closed punctuation, on the other hand, is the use of commas or periods (full stops) after the salutation, the complimentary close, in abbreviations, etc. in English correspondence. This way of placing marks is usually the case in British private correspondence, such as letters and emails.

  • Examples of closed punctuation:
    • ‘Dear Sally,
    • ‘Mr. Jason Richardson’

Further explanations related to the ‘Open & closed punctuation in English’

The following explanations are relating to the topic ‘Punctuation in English correspondence’ and could therefore be interesting too: