Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Dots or No Dots?

D.D.D. Schulek-Miller raised a question today of which, I would think, many readers of this blog are unaware. Doug wrote:

“I grew up thinking, gosh only knows from where, probably a good grammar teacher in elementary school, that the abbreviation for Saint does not take a period after it. I suppose this helps us differentiate between street and Saint, but there is probably more to it.”

“Has that changed or am I utterly at sea on this without a grammatical St Christopher medal for help?”

They don’t place periods after abbreviations that contain the last letter of the word in the UK (and elsewhere): St Christopher, Dr Dolittle, Mr Smythe-Jones, Mrs O’Grady. In the States, we do: St. Christopher, Dr. Dolittle, Mr. Smythe-Jones, Mrs. O’Grady.

Speakers of English all over the world do place periods after abbreviations that do not end on the last letter of the word, e.g., abbr., n., v., adj., adv.

Doug, of course, is from the UK.

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