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This is more a Writing Style question than a LaTeX-specific question so Mr. Moderator feel free to move it elsewhere or even delete it!

The question:

What is the proper way to write a caption to a figure? Do you include a final period or not if caption is a single sentence?


Figure 1.1. Tom is doing all the work while John does nothing


Figure 1.1. Tom is doing all the work while John does nothing.

Do you include a final period or not if more than one sentence?


Figure 1.2. Tom is doing all the work. John is drinking tea


Figure 1.2. Tom is doing all the work. John is drinking tea.

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This question really isn't on topic here, since it has nothing to do with TeX. (But I would include the punctuation.) –  Alan Munn Jun 3 '11 at 12:09
Rule #1: Follow the rules in the applicable style guide, if there is any. Rule #2: If there isn't any style guide, or if the style guide allows a number of forms, be consistent. My personal preference is that captions for tables and figures follow the same rules as for chapter, section, and subsection headings: Short and Sweet, no period. The explanatory text belongs in the body. But that is just my humble opinion (which becomes not so humble when some technical editor says to do it their particular way). –  David Hammen Jun 3 '11 at 12:38
@Alan Munn. I agree it's not on topic as it is a general stylistic question and could be asked in any forum, just that I'm writing a report in LaTeX at the mo and getting different advice on style. As I said, this question can be expunged to the ether as this is not the right place for it –  Leeser Jun 3 '11 at 13:27
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you include a final period at the end of a long caption made up of a few sentences then by argumentum a fortiori you should include one for shorter ones.

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I agree that consistency is the main stylistic requirement. I have accepted this answer as there is no "right" answer and it is a matter for the style guidelines in use. By accepting this answer it leads any future queries to this discussion. –  Leeser Jun 7 '11 at 9:29
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Well when I'm writing a seminar, I'm often using references from scientific articles, and so far, every figure has a caption that has dot at the end.

It's the same with equations. Either you put dot or comma, depending on the sentence.

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