Recently, I wrote a short post about using numerals in blog posts properly. Today, I decided to write a related post showing you how to use abbreviations properly in not only your blog posts, but all forms of writing (such as articles and even letters). These rules are taken from page 31 of the book “Basic Journalism” by Eufemia C. Estrada and Rosario P. Nem Singh, a must-have book for every campus journalist like me. The rules after the jump.
- Do not use abbreviations that may not be clearly understood by the average reader. Let’s take the water district in my area, for example. If I write “the BCWD held a water quiz show today”, readers who aren’t from my city will not understand what BCWD is. However, you can say “the Butuan City Water District (BCWD) held a water quiz show today”, and then later refer to it as BCWD. But never, ever use a little-known abbreviation in a title or section header, as this may cause confusion.
- Spell out organizations, firms, agencies, groups, etc. when first mentioned in the story. For example, your post title can read “ASEAN Leaders meet in Manila”, but when you first mention the ASEAN in your post, you shouldn’t say “ASEAN” but instead “Association of Southeast Asian Nations”. You can then refer to the group by its acronym during subsequent mentions.
- When used in addresses, abbreviate St., Blvd., Ave., Rd., Ext. If you’re going to mention John Doe’s address, say “John Doe lives on 130 Pavement st., Citytown, New York.” However, if you’re going to mention only the street where he lives, do not abbreviate the word “street”. Say “John Doe lives on Pavement Street.”
- Lower-case abbreviations that take periods are: a.m., p.m., k.p.h.,c.o.d. Caps in heads have no periods. Periods are not needed in 35 mm (film). In a story, the first mention of speed should read “kilometers per hour” and subsequent mentions should use k.p.h.
- Abbreviate vs. with a period in both heads and stories.
- Do not abbreviate names of countries, cities or states in the United States. Not everyone who reads your blog is acquainted with the American states’ two-letter abbreviations, so it is always safer to spell the name of the state out.
- Abbreviate United States and United Nations in titles.
- Abbreviate and capitalize religious, fraternal, scholastic or honorary degrees, etc. But use lower case when spelled out. E.g. A.B., bachelor of arts.
- Abbreviate and capitalize titles: Mr., Mrs., Dr., Prof., Msgr, etc. in titles before names but not after names. Do not abbreviate attorney when used in this manner: “The statement by prosecution attorney Law Yer.”
- Use miss before the name of an unmarried female throughout your story.
- Do not abbreviate plural forms of titles. For example, it should read “Generals Pistol and Armalite”, not “Gens.” In headlines, Gen. or Rep. with the family name is permitted.
- Abbreviate months when used in dates: Oct. 28, 1994, but don’t abbreviate months with five letters or less: June 12, 1898.
- Days of the week should not be abbreviated. So, Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., Sun.
- Don’t abbreviate the words government, department, association, point, deputy, general manager, secretary-general, and secretary. Do not abbreviate Christmas as X’Mas.
- Avoid using more than one abbreviation in headlines.
- Million and billion can be abbreviated in headlines, as in “Robbers steal P20-M from bank”. However, in the body of the news, these words should be spelled out: “P20 million pesos was stolen from Chuva-ek-ek Bank today.”
I hope this helps! 😀