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Abbreviations and Acronyms are similar to each other as they both are short forms of longer words; nevertheless they are two different parts of the English language.

Abbreviations are short forms of lengthy expressions. They are shortened versions of one or two words which are still pronounced the same way, even if they are written as an abbreviation.

Abbreviations are in use in almost every discipline and area of life from generally used abbreviations like names, for instance Mr. for Mister, Mr. Henry is pronounced Mister Henry and not M-R Henry or Sgt. for Sergeant, to less commonly used abbreviations, such as the shortened version of abbreviation itself, which is abbr. Acronyms, on the other hand, are shortened versions of phrases that are most often the names of something. They are pronounced as their short forms rather than their actual full form.

The U.S. is itself a well-established abbreviation. Abbreviations exist in all areas of life from medicine to military and international relations to religion. This rule is only relaxed when the abbreviation is of a word taken from another language like e.g. which actually stands for exempli gratia. In this case, we say the meaning of the phrase instead of the phrase it self - for example instead of exempli gratia.


 Abbreviations   Full Form   Meaning   Use 
 A.D  Anno Domini   In the year of our lord   Used to show years after the birth of Jesus Christ -1600 A.D
 a.m  Ante Meridian   Before midday  Used for the hours after midnight and before noon - 10a.m, 2a.m
 e.g.  Exempli gratia   For example  To give an example or instance of something - different cities, e.g. New York, Delhi, Beijing etc.
 i.e.  Id est  In other words / That is   Used in sentences to rephrase or show a connection between clauses - Jason, i.e. the most popular senior, likes Bethany.
 p.m  Post meridian  After midday  Used to show the hours after midday and before midnight - 10p.m, 2p.m
 P.S  Post Scriptum  Something written after the main text was finished. 
 Used mainly in letters to add something extra after the signoff - Yours Shirley,
P.S - I’ll be in Cuba for 2 weeks.
 R.I.P  Requiescat in pace   May he/she rest in peace  Used as a prayer for someone who has died - May Janet R.I.P.


Examples of Abbreviations

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Examples of Abbreviations

Latin Abbreviations

 Full Form 
     Meaning    Use  
 c. / ca.  Circa   Approximately   Used for years/months when not sure of exact date - ca. 1500 
 C.V  Curriculum  Vitae   Course of Life   A document summarizing a person’s education and experience.
 Et al.  Et Alii  And others  Used to show that there are more names that are unmentioned on a list - Tom, Harry, Jack et al.
 p.a Per Annum Through the year  Used to show something in the manner of ‘yearly’ - He earns 2 million dollars p.a.
 Etc.  Et cetera   And other things  Used to signify similar things that are unmentioned on a list - milk, cheese, yoghurt etc.
 Stat Statim Immediately Used most often in the medical fields - This man needs a bypass stat.

Abbreviations Related to Names

 Dr.  Doctor  Dr. Luke was also invited. 
 Gen. General (army)  Gen. Smith ordered them to fire at the enemy. 
 Hon. Honorable Hon. James Watson gave away the prizes.
 Mr.  Mister  Mr. Henry is in office at the moment.
 Mrs.  Mistress  Mrs. Harris is waiting for her car.
 Ms.  Miss  Ms. Jane Smith is here to see you.
 Prof.  Professor  Prof. Jones is a popular faculty in college.
 Rev.     Reverend (clergyman)         Rev. Francis blessed the house today.
 Sr. / Jr. Senior / Junior         Bates Sr. and Charles Bates Jr. were inspecting the grounds.         
 St. Saint St. Patrick is one of the most popular Irish saints.

Abbreviations of Grammar

 Abbr.            Abbreviation / Abbreviated        
 Adj.  Adjective
 Adv.  Adverb
 Obj.  Objective
 Pl.  Plural
 Poss.  Possessive
 Prep.  Preposition
 Pron.  Pronoun
 Pseud.  Pseudonym
 Sing.  Singular
 Syn.  Synonym
 Trans.  Translation
 V. / Vb.  Verb

General Abbreviations

 Assn.   Association   They named their club; Assn. of Low and Highs.
 Ave.   Avenue  They said they would be waiting at Lexington Ave.
 Dept.  Department  The Arts Dept. is holding a bake sale.
 Est.  Established  Annabel’s est. 1963 in London, England.
 Fig.  Figure  Look to fig. 8 to see how the process takes place.
 Hrs.  Hours  We will reach the next camp at 1600hrs.
 Inc.  Incorporated      Apple Inc. was founded in the 1970s by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.     
 Mt.  Mount  Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain on earth.
 No.  Number  The address is House no. 64, Mulberry Lane.
 Oz.  Ounces  The recipe needs 34 oz. of honey.
 Sq.  Square  The rent is 100 dollar per sq. inch.
 St.  Street  The shop is located at Xyza St. near the intersection.
 Vs Versus The final match is going to be Australia vs. India.

Rules for Abbreviations

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Rules for Abbreviations Contents

Abbreviated Names and Social Titles

Use the full name in standard writing unless the person uses an initial as part of his or her name. Initials may be used in lists and addresses if appropriate.

Correct:  Robert Smith

Correct, only in list or address: P. Smith

Correct:  George F. Lee 
(The initial is fine here because that is the name he went by.)

Social titles before a proper name are capitalized. All but Miss and Master are abbreviated and end with a period.

Social titles: Mr. Master Mrs. Miss Ms. 
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.

Correct: Mr. Douglas is not at home.

Incorrect: You'd better listen, Mr. 
(Mr. is not in front of name; do not abbreviate.)

Correct: 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.


     Unit of Measurement    
 bbl.  barrel
 cu.  cubic
 doz.  dozen
 F., F  Fahrenheit
 ft.  foot
 in.  inch
 lb.  pound
 mi.  mile
 mph miles per hour
 oz. ounce
 sq. square
 T., T ton
 yd. yard

Metric Abbreviations

     Abbreviation             Unit of Measurement     
 C Celsius, Centigrade
 cm centimeter
 g, gr gram (g is standard)
 K  Kelvin
 K, KB      kilobyte (KB is standard)   
 kg  kilogram
 km  kilometer
 l  liter
 m  meter
 mg milligram
 ml milliliter
 mm  millimeter
 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.

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