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:

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.

 

Back to Punctuation.

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