Abbreviations and acronyms that may not be immediately understood by the reader should be defined the first time they appear in a publication or, in a long publication with a number of sections, the first time in each section. Use the full term, followed by its abbreviation in parentheses. Thereafter, the abbreviation should be used exclusively.

Example: A resident assistant (RA) is assigned to each floor. The RA can help with problems.

  1. a.m., p.m.
    Example: Community Hour will begin at 12:30 p.m.

  2. Street, Avenue, Boulevard, only when a specific address is given
    Examples: The HealthLine bus travels Euclid Avenue. Our mailing address is 10900 Euclid Ave. The graduate assistant lives at 1400 Randolph Road.

  3. North, East, South and West in addresses only when a specific address is given.
    Examples: His address is 1124 N. Stoneham Road. He lives on North Stoneham Road.

  4. Saint in geographical names, but not Fort or Mount

  5. State names when used in conjunction with a city or town. The list of state abbreviations is available in The Associated Press Stylebook. There are eight states that are never abbreviated: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
    Example: She hails from Andover, Mass. She will be traveling to Honolulu, Hawaii, over spring break.

  6. When using state names with full addresses, always use the two-letter postal abbreviations.

  7. The word "number" before a figure. Never use the symbol #
    Example: His research suggests that dye no. 7 is used in many food products.

  8. United States and United Nations when used as adjectives
    Example: The president defended U.S. foreign policy at the news conference.

Lowercase abbreviations usually take periods, particularly when the abbreviations form words. Uppercase abbreviations and acronyms usually do not take periods.

Do Not Abbreviate
  1. Months.

  2. United States and United Nations when used as nouns.
    Example: The United Nations represents almost 200 countries.

  3. Days of the week.

  4. Cents, percent or degrees of temperature.

  5. Names of countries, provinces and districts when they follow the names of towns.

  6. Feet and inches, except in technical copy that contains many references to these measurements. Then, use ft. and in.

  7. Company and corporation, except in non-narrative copy where space is extremely limited. The abbreviated version is acceptable if the company or corporation actually uses it as part of its official title.
    Example: The company will attend the Career Fair.