Learn English – Point vs dot: when to use what


I would like to know how the punctuation in the following would be spoken when dictating letter by letter.

Although there are already some partial answers to the question when to say “point” and when to say “dot” there are still cases missing, and there is no comparison that connects it to the different usages of the symbol “.”.

Therefore my question: how would I read the points/dots in the following examples?

(In some cases they will usually not be pronounced at all.)

  • the number 3.42
  • the amount €156.76
  • the IP address
  • the enumeration 1. paragraph
  • the regular sentence Just because.
  • the unusual sentence Do. Not. Ask.
  • the abbreviation St. Germain
  • the abbreviation Main St.
  • the URL stackoverflow.com

Best Answer

"Point" is usually used when dealing with decimal numbers, that is an abbreviation of "decimal point", for example:

1.25 would be pronounced: "One point two five"

In aviation - a safety critical environment with lots of radio traffic and many non-english speakers this would be pronounced:

"Wun desceemal two fife", [One decimal two five], simply because this has been found to convey the correct meaning to someone on the other end of a radio transmission. Similarly [just for fun...] . Three is pronounced "Tree", but I digress...


The number 3.42 Point...

the amount €156.76 One hundred and fifty six, seventy six [Euro]

the IP address Point or decimal, useful if reading to some one over the phone / radio, as above...

the enumeration 1. paragraph Point . Also in section headings 1.1.1 = "Section one point one point one"

the regular sentence Just because. Full stop or 'Period' - if necessary (USA)!

the unusual sentence Do. Not. Ask. Bad grammar, I might use an ellipsis to convey a brief pause for emphasis: "Do... Not... Ask!"

the abbreviation St. Germain Full stop - normally omitted in UK as now considered archaic, i.e. Mr Bloggs in UK (I must be getting old because I still use it!), so probably 'Period' as its use carries more favour in the US: Mr. Bloggs.

the abbreviation Main St. Full stop, as above

the URL stackoverflow.com Dot, as in "Dot Com" (XYZ.com), or "Dot Co, Dot UK" (XYZ.co.uk)

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