Formal writing Types of abbreviations

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Abbreviations in English ref 15

Abbreviations in English


  • Abbreviations: Main points

  • Formal writing

  • Types of abbreviations

  • Abbreviations of units of measure

  • Latin abbreviations

  • Abbreviations of names of countries, states, streets, months

  • Plural forms of acronyms

  • Contracted forms

This material provides general information about the use of English abbreviations.

Abbreviations: Main points

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or group of words. Depending on the abbreviation, it may be written in capital or small letters and with or without one or more periods. There are a lot of miscellaneous abbreviations in English.

For example: a.m. (before noon); e.g. (for example); etc. (and so on); ft. (foot, feet); lb. (pound, pounds); ESL (English as a second language); IBM (International Business Machines); ID (identification); Ltd. (limited); PC (personal computer); U.S. (United States).

Abbreviations are often used in tables, footnotes, lists, catalogs, orders and bills, drawings, drafts, figures, captions to illustrations, and the like – that is, where space is tight and brevity is necessary. Also, there may be many abbreviations in technical writing. Some abbreviations may also be used in informal writing (for example, in informal letters to friends and relatives).

Abbreviations in different written materials should be standard, recognizable and understandable; only the forms given in the dictionary should be used. A list of abbreviations and their full forms may be provided at the end of the material in which the abbreviations are used.

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