Excuse my terrible English knowledge, but I have been wondering this for some time already: What is correct for the next phrase?:

And he was there. alone. sad. and crying...


And he was there. Alone. Sad. And crying...


And he was there, alone, sad and crying...

On the first and second cases, I use periods for separating the state of the subject. For some reason, I like it to give better suspense. Given the way I am using the periods, should I use Capital letters after them, or not? These periods are pretty much like commas...

... But maybe I am terribly wrong and should never use periods for such purpose? Should I always follow the third case? Just using commas?

2 Answers 2


I would write the first word after the period in capital case, as you did in the second sentence you wrote. The general rule of writing a word in capital case after a period is still valid even if you write a single word and then a period.

In those cases, the periods are used to give an emphasis to the single words. The pause when "reading" a period is longer than the pause used for a comma; for this reason I would not say the periods are like commas, in the examples you wrote.

  • 4
    Using periods instead of commas is something that should be done in specific cases, to give more emphasis; if you keep doing it in all the sentences, the emphasis is lost, and the sentences you write would be seen as not correct.
    – apaderno
    Feb 6, 2011 at 5:37
  • Hmm.... do I have to use capital case after suspensive dots as well? (haha, forgot how they're called in English, sorry)
    – Saturn
    Feb 6, 2011 at 5:57
  • 1
    @Omega Do you mean ellipsis ... like you used in your comment? And I'd say, no BTW.
    – Mark Hurd
    Feb 6, 2011 at 9:50
  • But why should we start our sentences with capital letters? What's the philosophy behind it? Apr 19, 2021 at 12:44
  • @aminabzz That's done in all the languages I know. If there is a "philosophy" behind it, it's not about English.
    – apaderno
    Apr 19, 2021 at 13:44

I try to avoid starting a sentence with the word "and".

… he was there. Alone. Sad. And crying.

If using stops instead of commas for greater emphasis I would remove the second "and" as it suggests the final element of a list separated by commas: "a, b, c and d".

… he was there. Alone. Sad. Crying.

To me that has greater emphasis and avoids starting a sentence with a conjunction.

You can also use an em-dash for pauses in a sentence — though this is rarer.

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