15

What does the word period mean in the following context? It does not seem to be a part of the sentence.

— Could you please {do something}?
— I don't want to do that, period.

7

That is an intensifier:

Grammar. a word, especially an adverb, or other linguistic element that indicates, and usually increases, the degree of emphasis or force to be given to the element it modifies, as very or somewhat; intensive adverb.

In the example, it is equivalent to "at all".

I'd say that a more likely occurrence would be when some form of qualifier was originally specified:

"You don't want to go to football practice today?"

"I don't want to go to football practice, period."

  • 1
    Definitely an intensifier - more or less meaning "That's my final word on the subject". Probably a more common equivalent (in the UK, at least) is "end of story", often truncated to simply "End of!" Particularly favoured by less educated speakers who probably wouldn't know that period can mean a full stop at the end of a sentence. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Feb 4 '13 at 23:03
  • 1
    In Irish English, you will sometimes hear the Irish phrase sin é ("that's it") used similarly. (Irish phrases are often imported into Irish English.) – TRiG Feb 6 '13 at 21:16
  • 2
    I know someone who, when he wants to make a particularly emphatic statement, will end it with "period, full stop, end of sentence!" – Hellion Feb 6 '13 at 22:06
  • In your football example, it could also be a reference to the lack of adverb after "football practice" in the reply. The initial question assumes that one might want to go to football practice at some point in time (e.g. today), whereas the reply emphasizes that one does not want to go to football practice, ever. – AmadeusDrZaius Mar 1 '15 at 0:58
  • In the UK one might end "Full stop.". which basically means the same thing. It is more common to refer to the punctuation mark period (.) as a full stop. – AndFisher Jan 18 '17 at 11:32
25

In North American English, the . at the end of a sentence is called a period. It ends a sentence; the sentence absolutely cannot continue after the period. Therefore in conversations, when you say I will not do this, period, what you are saying is that you will not do it, and the conversation is over. You're not going to discuss it anymore, and can't be convinced otherwise; period.

Also interesting to note: In British English and some other variants of English the period (.) is referred to as a "full stop". So in those dialects, instead of saying I will not discuss this, period, one would say I will not discuss this, full stop. This might be helpful if you're having discussions with someone who speaks another dialect of English.

A more lengthy way to write your example sentence would be:

I don't want to do this, and that's all I'm going to say on the subject.

2

Period is the punctuation mark used at the end of a sentence (.). In that sentence, period is used to mean something on the lines of "and I don't want to discuss it," or "end of the story."

1

It's an interjection, and unlike many interjections, it makes total sense.

What does a period do? It ends a sentence.

The interjection period, which is always used at the end of a sentence, means "And that's all there is to say."

It implies finality. There can be no discussion or questioning.

In your example, the speaker will not do whatever it is. Don't even try persuading him. Nor does he want to give reasons.

-1

Period simply means "that's all", period.

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