What is Open Punctuation and When is it Acceptable?


Open punctuation is quite a recent innovation and is a direct result of the electronic age in which we now live. Open punctuation is a very minimal level of punctuation and is now acceptable because of the increased use of electronic mail and also word processing.

In open punctuation the use of full stops and commas is quite limited.  In former times, by tradition, letters would always have been started, ‘Dear Mr. Jones (or whoever), but now it is viewed as acceptable to write, ‘Dear Mr Jones’ (the full stop or punctuation mark after ‘Mr’ has been omitted).  One of the major aspects of open punctuation is that instead of using paragraph indents, double line spaces are now used to denote a new paragraph.

Generally, open punctuation is acceptable within more informal letters and items that are not used within the business context. However, if you are writing business English then it is always better to revert to standard punctuation, since it helps the message look formal and professional. If the reader thinks that you have omitted commas and full stops due to you not knowing when they should be used, then they may not feel that your service is professional. So for writing formal business English always use proper ‘closed’ punctuation and ensure that you use some kind of punctuation or grammar checker to double check your work. This gives it a more professional edge and will really help to make any documents you write look polished, professional and of excellent quality.

Do you like the content on PunctuationTips.net, and want more? If you are looking for useful tips and lessons on English grammar, visit GrammarTips.net, or on English punctuation, visit SpellingTips.net . If you are looking for ways to improve your Business English, visit BusinessWritingTips.net. If you are an ESL student, or looking to learn English as a second language online, then visit ESLTips.net for lots of useful articles!

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