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Referencing Styles Guide @ UWC: Abbreviations

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Useful abbreviations

Uppercase letter abbreviations

Do not use fullstops or spaces in abbreviations composed solely of capital letters, except in the case of proper names:


P. D. James, J. R. R. Tolkien, E. B. White

Lowercase letter abbreviations

Use a fullstop of the abbreviation ends in a lower case letter, unless referring to an internet suffix, where the fullstop should come before the abbreviation:

assn., conf., Eng., esp.

.com, .edu, .gov (URL suffixes)

Note: Degree names are a notable exception to the lowercase abbreviation rule.

PhD, EdD, PsyD

Use fullstops between letters without spacing if each letter represents a word in common lower case abbreviations:

a.m., e.g., i.e.

Other notable exceptions:

mph, os, rpm, ns

Time designations

Abbreviate all months -- except for May, June, and July -- in lists of Works Cited:

Jan.; Feb.; Mar.; Apr.; Aug.; Sept.; Oct.; Nov.; Dec.

Geographic names

Geographic names of states and countries in book citations when the publisher's city is not well known or could be confused with another city. Abbreviate country, province, and state names.

Logan, UT; Manchester, Eng.; Sherbrooke, QC

Publisher names

Shorten publisher's names as much as possible in book citations. You only need to provide your readers with enough information for them to identify the publisher. Many publishers can be identified by only acronyms or a shortened version of their names.

MLA suggests a few rules for you to follow when abbreviating publishers:

  • Omit articles, business abbreviations (like Corp. or Inc.), and descriptive words (e.g. Press, Publishers, House)
  • Cite only the last name of a publisher with the name of one person (e.g. Norton for W. W. Norton) and only the last name of the first listed for a publisher with multiple names (e.g. McGraw for McGraw-Hill)
  • Use standard abbreviations when possible (e.g. Assn. or Soc.)
  • Use the acronym of the publisher if the company is commonly know by that abbreviation (e.g. MLA, ERIC, GPO)
  • Use only U and P when referring to university presses (e.g. Cambridge UP or U of Chicago P)

Here is a short list of publisher abbreviations that you might use. 

  • Acad. for Educ. Dev. (Academy for Educational Development, Inc.)
  • Gale (Gale Research, Inc.)
  • Harper (Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc. & HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.)
  • Little (Little, Brown and Company, Inc.)
  • MIT P (The MIT Press)
Other abbreviations
  • Anon. for anonymous
  • C. or ca. for circa
  • Comp. for compiler
  • Ed., ed. for editor
  • Eds., eds. for multiple editors
  • ed. for edition
  • Fwd. for foreword
  • Jour. for journal
  • Lib. for library
  • n.d. for no date of publication
  • n.p. for no publisher
  • n. pag. for no page numbers
  • qtd. in for quoted in (used in in-text citing)
  • Sec. or sect. for section
  • Ser. for series
  • Var. for variant
  • Vol., vol. for volume
  • Writ. for written by or writer


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