How to use punctuation in abbreviations

People are often uncertain about whether or not to use full stops/periods in abbreviations. Here are some guidelines:

1. In both American and British English, if you are using initial letters to represent words, you don’t normally need to put a full stop/period after:


2. In American English, however, it is common to use a full stop/period as an alternative style for certain abbreviations, in particular:

USA or U.S.A.

US or U.S.

3. If an abbreviation consists of the first and last letters of a word, the American rule is to include a full/stop period at the end:




4. The British norm, however, is not to use a period at the end:




5. If the abbreviation consists only of the first part of a word, then you should put a period at the end:

Wed. (= Wednesday)

Dec. (= December)

See more information about abbreviations.


Back to Punctuation.

See more from Punctuation