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Reading and Writing Rocks Yellow / Lesson 5: Abbreviations

Abbreviations and Initials

  • An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word.
    Example: Doctor is Dr.


  • Words that are abbreviated are simply abbreviated words.

  • If a word was capitalized as a regular word, then it will be capitalized as an abbreviated word.
    Example: Monday= Mon.


  • Abbreviations help us when we write; so that we do not have to write out the entire word.

  • Most basic abbreviations are memorized

  • There are abbreviations for many specialized fields or areas also.
    Example: Doctors have medical abbreviations

  • Computer Engineers have computer abbreviations

Common Abbreviations

  • Titles before names:

    • Mrs.,= a married woman
    • Mr., = a man
    • Ms.,= a woman who is married or not married
    • Prof., = professor or teacher
    • Dr., =doctor
    • Gen., = general
    • Rep.,=representative
    • Sen.,=senator
    • St. (for Saint)


  • Titles after names:

    • Sr.,= for the parent of a child who has the same name
    • Jr.,=for the child who has a parent with the same name
    • Ph.D., M.D., B.A., M.A., D.D.S.= these are levels of degrees that a person has achieved

Many different names of people or objects are better known as abbreviations

  • Names of

    • familiar institutions - UConn, MIT, UCLA, CIA, FBI, NATO
    • countries - U.S.A., U.K.
    • corporations - IBM, CBS, NPR, CNN, ITT
    • famous people - LBJ, FDR, JFK, MLK
    • very familiar objects - TV, VCR, CD-ROM.

Math abbreviations: These are just a few

  • Inches=in.
  • Feet=ft.
  • Square=sq.
  • Quart=qt.


  • There are thousands of different abbreviations for words.
  • If you do not know how to abbreviate a word then you can refer to the internet or a reference book for help.

    If you are frequently confronted with decisions regarding abbreviations, get hold of a copy of either The Chicago Manual of Style or The Gregg Reference Manual. Both these books contain extensive chapters on proper form in using abbreviations, as well as the possessive and plural forms of abbreviations.


Acronym Finder

  • In the future:

  • On the internet you can actually type in the abbreviation or the word and find out either how to abbreviate a word or what it means if it is an abbreviation.


  • Initials are the first letters of a name or a word

  • Initials typically refer to the first letter of a person's first, middle and last name.

  • Example: John Michael Smith is J.M.S.

  • Or Laura Lynn Michaels is L.L.M.