Truncations and contractions

Abbreviations can be classified into two groups: truncations and contractions. Truncations omit the end of a word (and sometimes other letters, too), while contractions omit letters from the middle. In BrE, truncations take a full stop, whereas contractions do not. Examples:

In AmE, both truncations and contractions take a full stop (e.g. Dr., Mr., Ltd.).

+ Return to top

Truncations and contractions generally form their plurals by adding a final lowercase s. Note that the plural of a truncated word is still considered a truncation and thus still takes a full stop. Examples:

Some common exceptions to this rule include:

+ Return to top

Follow each initial in a person's name with a full stop and a space. Examples:

Remember to use a single letter only when abbreviating a person's name, even if it begins with a consonant cluster that produces a different sound from that of the first letter alone. Examples:

Use both initials for compound first names. Examples:

+ Return to top

Although full stops may be used with the abbreviations of ordinal numbers in Catalan (e.g. 1r., 2n.), they are not used with such abbreviations in English. Thus: 1st, 2nd, etc.

Please note that, for formatting reasons, the UOC prefers that the suffixes for ordinal numbers not be written in superscript.

+ Return to top

Auxiliary verbs in English (be, do, have, will, etc.) can be abbreviated when used in less formal registers. Examples:

The UOC recommends avoiding these contracted forms in texts that need to maintain a very formal tone. However, we do recommend their use when addressing people directly, as in the case of email messages or notifications. This tends to lend the text a more personal feel. Examples:

+ Return to top