Are you supposed to put a period after an abbreviation? Yes, but you should never double the punctuation when ending a sentence.
Read on as I show you the rules for putting a period after an abbreviation. And also discover what MLA and other style manuals recommend about this scenario.
What are Abbreviations?
An abbreviation is the shortened version of the original form of a word or phrase. You can find them on street signs, maps, calendars, and emails. Some examples of abbreviations include:
- Jan. (for January)
- Jr. (for Junior)
- St. (for Street)
- St. (for Saint)
- Dr. (for Doctor)
- Dr. (for Drive)
Notice how these abbreviations end in periods. Other abbreviations come in acronyms and initialisms, which may also have periods. For example:
- F.O.M.O. (for Fear of Missing Out)
- N.A.S.A. (for National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
- F.B.I. (for Federal Bureau of Investigation)
- VPN (for Virtual Private Network)
- F.L.O.T.U.S. (for First Lady of the United States)
- N.A.T.O. (for North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
Do You Put Periods After an Abbreviation?
Many English writers get confused about whether they add another period after an abbreviation. For instance, do you put two periods after etc.? And do you put another period after U.S. at the end of the sentences?
MLA Style Center says you don’t have to put another period after an abbreviation. In fact, sentences should never have two periods at the end. Other style guides also observe this rule.
Think of it as a 2-in-1 punctuation. One period is enough for the abbreviation and the full stop of the sentence. For example:
- Incorrect: The students are preparing the decorations, playlists, invitations, etc..
- Correct: The students are preparing the decorations, playlists, invitations, etc.
- Incorrect: My name is John Snow Jr..
- Correct: My name is John Snow Jr.
However, if you are writing an interrogative sentence, you should still add a question mark after the abbreviation. For example:
- Are the students preparing the decorations, playlists, invitations, etc.?
- Is your name John Snow Jr.?
The same rule applies to exclamation points. For example:
- The teacher shouted, “Prepare the decorations, playlists, invitations, etc.!”
- It’s John Snow Jr.!
Does Mr Have a Period?
American English recommends adding periods after abbreviations like Mr. But British English does not put periods after abbreviations like Mr. For example:
- American English: Mr. Williams wore a black shirt.
- British English: Mr Williams wore a black shirt.
Does Dr Have a Period?
American English recommends adding periods after abbreviations like Dr. But British English does not put periods after abbreviations like Dr. For example:
- American English: Dr. Paulson will give you the prescription.
- British English: Dr Paulson will give you the prescription.
Final Word on Periods and Abbreviations
It’s okay to end sentences with some abbreviations. But using two periods (one at the end of the abbreviation and one at the end of the sentence) is a huge no. Follow this rule whatever style guide you’re using for your writing.