Guidelines


These guidelines follow the standard practices for abbreviating in business writing. The guidelines contain information about the following types of abbreviations:

6.A. Spell out first names; don’t abbreviate

6.B. Abbreviations of titles

6.C. Abbreviations of group names and organizations

6.D. Abbreviations of time designations

6.E. Abbreviations in addresses

6.F. Abbreviations of weights and measures

6.G. Abbreviations of commonly used expressions

Abbreviations


Test your abbreviation knowledge: Link


Observe the proper rules for abbreviations. If you don’t, readers may become confused.

6.A. Spell out first names; don’t abbreviate

EXAMPLES

Incorrect:

  1. Wm. Taft
  2. Geo. Washington
  3. Chas. Atwater

Correct:

  1. William Taft
  2. George Washington
  3. Charles Atwater

6.B. Abbreviations of titles

  • Spell out titles when they appear with the last name only.
  • Titles may be abbreviated when both the first and last names appear together.
  • Abbreviate academic degrees and professional designations following names.
  • Do not abbreviate a position title in a letter address.

EXAMPLES

Incorrect:

    1. Sen. Proxmire
    2. Gen. Powell
    3. Atty. Bryant
    4. Mr. Franklin Pierce, Treas.
      Barrister Implements
      378 East Belmont Avenue
      Fresno, CA 93701-1603

Correct:

    1. Senator Proxmire or Sen. William Proxmire
    2. General Powell or Gen. Colin Powell
    3. Attorney Bryant or Atty. Greg Bryant
    4. Mr. Franklin Pierce, Treasurer
      Barrister Implements
      378 East Belmont Avenue
      Fresno, CA 93701-1603

6.C. Abbreviations of group names and organizations

Write abbreviations without periods for agency names, broadcasting companies, unions, and other similar groups.

EXAMPLES

Incorrect:

    1. A.A.A.
    2. F.B.I.
    3. I.R.S.
    4. A.M.A.
    5. N.A.A.C.P.

    Correct:

    1. AAA
    2. FBI
    3. IRS
    4. AMA
    5. NAACP

6.D. Abbreviation of time designations

    1. Abbreviate time designations with periods.
    2. Abbreviate standard time zones without periods.
    3. Do not abbreviate days and months except in limited spaces such as tables or business forms.

EXAMPLES

Incorrect:

      1. AD
      2. am
      3. E.S.T.
      4. BC
      5. PM
      6. Their Grand Opening was held on Mon., Aug. 19, 1999.

Correct:

      1. A.D.
      2. a.m.
      3. EST
      4. B.C.
      5. p.m.
      6. Their Grand Opening was held on Monday, August 19, 1999.

6.E. Abbreviations in addresses

  • Spell out street addresses (Chicago Manual of Style).
  • With ZIP codes, use state abbreviations in all capital letters without periods. Do not use the two-letter state abbreviations without zip codes.

The AP Stylebook suggests that you may use abbreviations for compass points (N., E., S., W.) when the compass point follows an address number (house at 743 N. 40th Street), but not when the address number is missing (house on North 40th Street).

Spell out “Street” in addresses.

EXAMPLES

Incorrect:

      1. 2310 Lee Ave., Northwest
      2. on S. Main St.
      3. San Diego, CA

Correct:

      1. 2310 Lee Avenue, NW
      2. on South Main Street (or at 200 S. Main Street: AP Stylebook)
      3. San Diego, California or San Diego, CA 92101-7006

6.F. Abbreviations of weights and measures

Weights and measures may be abbreviated in technical writing and on business forms, but not in text.

EXAMPLES

Incorrect:

      1. The amount used was 3 oz.
      2. Total loss was 368 gals.
      3. The underwriter weighed 268 lbs.

Correct:

      1. The amount used was 3 ounces.
      2. Total loss was 368 gallons.
      3. The underwriter weighed 268 pounds.

6.G. Abbreviations of commonly used expressions

Commonly used expressions may be abbreviated in text in informal and standard business writing (but not formal business writing).

EXAMPLES

Correct:

ASAP as soon as possible
RSVP répondez s’il vous plaît
CEO chief executive officer
SASE self-addressed stamped envelope

Other commonly used expressions may be abbreviated, but only in business forms, tables, and statistics.

Common words such as “info” or “subj.”
Do not abbreviate words such as “info” or “subj” in business writing.

Abbreviated words in company names.
You may abbreviate a word such as “Brothers” in a company name if the company has the abbreviation in its name in all of its legal documents.


EXAMPLES
Correct:

acct. account
km/h kilometers per hour
att. attachment
mph miles per hour
doz. dozen
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