Social titles before a proper name are capitalized. All but Miss and Master are abbreviated and end with a period.
Mlle. Mme. M. Messrs. (Plural of Mr. or M.)
Mmes. (Plural of Mrs., Ms., Mme.)
Those social titles that are abbreviated are abbreviated only in front of names.
You'd better listen, Mister.
Abbreviations of Geographical Features
Abbreviations for geographical terms before or after a proper noun begin with a capital letter and end with a period.
Abbreviations for geographical terms are used only in addresses, lists, charts, and maps. They should be spelled out in standard and formal writing.
Common geographical abbreviations:
- Ave. Is. Prov.
- Apt. L. (Lake) RR. or R.R.
- Blvd. Mt. Rd.
- Bldg. Nat. or Natl. Rt. or Rte.
- Co. (County) Pk. Sq.
- Dr. (Drive) Pt. St. (Street, State)
- Ft. Pen. (Peninsula) Terr.
The abbreviation Wy. can stand for Way, but is seldom used because it is short and it can be confused with the abbreviation for the state of Wyoming. More commonly it is part of the abbreviation of a compound word which includes way such as Hwy. for Highway, Fwy. for Freeway, or Pkwy. for Parkway.
Abbreviated Rank and Academic Titles
There are a number of common titles of position and rank which are abbreviated. Except for Dr., they are used only before a person's full name (i.e., at least first and last names); otherwise, the title is spelled out.
Correct: Sgt. Alvin York Fr. Milton Drinan
Prof. William Alfred Dr. Robert Friedman
Incorrect: Sgt. York Fr. Drinan Prof. Alfred
(Abbreviated without first name or initial.)
Correct: Sergeant York Father Drinan
Professor Alfred Dr. Friedman
(Dr. is OK to abbreviate with a last name only.)
Practice for internal correspondence within military commands may differ.
Abbreviations of position and rank include the following.
- Professional: Dr. Atty. Prof. Hon.
- Religious: Rev. Fr. Msgr. Sr.(Sister) Br.(Brother) St.
- Political: Pres. Supt. Rep. Sen. Gov. Amb. Treas. Sec.
- Military: Pvt. Cpl. Spec. Sgt. Ens. Adm. Maj. Capt. Cmdr. (or Cdr.) Lt. Lt. Col. Col. Gen.
Abbreviations After a Name
Abbreviations after a name--such as Jr., Sr., and academic titles--are set off by commas. They begin with a capital letter and end with a period.
Do not use the abbreviations unless they follow the name.
Correct: William F. Buckley, Jr. Walter Jude, M.D.
Incorrect: The average M.D. sees forty patients day.
(Does not follow name)
Correct: The average medical doctor sees forty patients a day.
In a full sentence, each abbreviation after a name is set off by a comma both before and after. No comma is needed at the end if the sentence ends with the abbreviation.
Correct: The Hon. Rep. Walter Judd, M.D., represented a Minnesota district in the U.S. Congress.
State and Province Abbreviations
Traditional abbreviations for states and provinces begin with a capital letter and end with a period.
Except for the abbreviation D.C. when it follows Washington, which may be used at any time, use the abbreviations for states and provinces only in lists, maps, charts, addresses, and informal writing.
Avoid abbreviations for states, provinces, and countries in formal writing--the exceptions are the relatively long U.S., U.S.A., U.S.S.R., and C.I.S. which may be used at any time.
The two-letter postal service abbreviations are all capitals with no periods. They are not set apart by commas. They are used only with addresses on letters, envelopes, and packages to be mailed.
Correct: P.O. Box 207
Shelton, Conn., 06483
(In an address)
Correct: P.O. Box 205
Shelton CT 06487
(In an address)
Incorrect: He works in Shelton, Conn.
(Standard sentence, do not abbreviate.)
Correct: He works in Shelton, Connecticut.
Correct only because it is informal: Was it really the O'Leary's cow that made Chicago, Ill.?
Abbreviations of Units of Measure
Abbreviations for most units of measurements use small letters and periods. Temperature abbreviations use capitals because they come from proper nouns. Measures of mass or weight of types of tons are generally capitalized when abbreviated. Abbreviations for metric units, including temperatures (Kelvin or Celsius), do not end with periods. Non-metric units with "per" (such as "miles per hour") usually do not take periods, either. Other abbreviations of measurements are limited to lists, charts, technical writing, and informal writing. In standard formal English, they are spelled out. There is no need to add an s to an abbreviation to show a plural.Examples:
|| Unit of Measurement
| F., F
| mph|| miles per hour|
| oz.|| ounce|
| sq.|| square|
| T., T|| ton|
| yd.|| yard|
|| Unit of Measurement
| C|| Celsius, Centigrade|
| cm|| centimeter|
| g, gr|| gram (g is standard)|
| K, KB
|| kilobyte (KB is standard)
| mg|| milligram|
| ml|| milliliter|
| w, W|| watt (W is standard)|
Abbreviations of Time References
Abbreviations for time read from a clock begin with small letters. Those for months and days of the week begin with capital letters. They all end with a period.
These abbreviations are used in charts, calendars, lists, informal writing, and the like. Spell the words out in standard formal writing.
- Clock time: sec. min. hr. (sometimes h.)
- Days of the Week: Mon. Tue. (Tues.) Wed. Thu. (Thurs.) Fri. Sat. Sun.
- Months: Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. Aug. Sep. (Sept.) Oct. Nov. Dec.
Sometimes Jun. and Jul. are used when space is limited to three letters.
A.M. and P.M. may either be written in all capital letters or all lower case, but choose one style and stick with it. B.C, B.C.E., and A.D. are always capitalized followed by a period. These abbreviations may be used with numbers or a numerical reference.
None of these abbreviations are separated by commas.
Correct: We will meet at 3:15 p.m.
Correct: Alexander ruled in the fourth century B.C.
(Abbreviation always follows century reference.)
Correct: Charlemagne was crowned in A.D. 800.
Correct: Charlemagne was crowned in 800 A.D.
(Either way is OK for A.D. and a number.)
Since a.m. means "before noon" and p.m. means "after noon," use no other expression of time of day with them.
Incorrect: He arrived at 7p.m. in the evening.
(In the evening is redundant)
Correct: He arrived at 7 p.m.
Correct: He arrived at 7 in the evening.
Common Latin Abbreviations
Common Latin expression are usually used in bibliographies, footnotes, lists, and references.
Correct: Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1399)
Correct: Geoffrey Chaucer was born circa 1343.
Correct: Geoffrey Chaucer was born about 1343.
Abbreviations in Names of Businesses
Abbreviations in business names begin with a capital letter and end with a period except for the ampersand (&).
In formal writing, write out the full name of the business. The legal abbreviations Inc. and Ltd. may be abbreviated.