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Punctuation in abbreviations

People are often uncertain about whether or not to use periods in abbreviations. Here are some guidelines:

1. In both American and British English, if you are using initial letters to represent words, you don’t normally need to put a period after them:

NBC
UK
NATO
NAACP

2. In American English, however, it is common to use periods as an alternative style for certain abbreviations, in particular: 

USA or U.S.A.
US or U.S.
 

3. If an abbreviation consists of the first and last letters of a word, the American rule is to include a period at the end:

Mr.
Dr.
St.
 

4. The British norm, however, is not to use a period at the end:

Mr
Dr
St
 

5. If the abbreviation consists only of the first part of a word, then you should put a period at the end:

Wed. [= Wednesday]
Dec. [= December]
 
See more information about abbreviations.

 

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Grammar and usage