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Full stops, abbreviations and more…

Sometimes, I get the feeling that some people think of their names as not merely names but probably a sentence of sorts.

I mean, seriously, why else would people use a punctuation mark after writing their name and surname? Unless of course, if they are unaware of the rules and are only trying to be safe rather than being sorry.

This month, find out more about this unique little blooper and some rules surrounding it to ensure you always manage to write it right.

Time and again, you will notice people using a full stop after signing off emails, e.g.
Best regards,
Sandeep Nulkar.

The rule suggests that full stops are used only at the end of a sentence or an abbreviation. Our names and surnames are surely not sentences or abbreviations and hence there is no place for a full stop there.

Needless to say, this does not apply in case one is writing names and surnames in a sentence, e.g.

My name is Sandeep Nulkar.
I spoke to a person by the name Jerry Jose.

In these cases, full stops are totally required.

While on the topic, let me give you the Queen’s view on the different kinds of abbreviations so that you get your full stops right, every single time.

To put it simply, acronyms, contractions, initialisms and shortenings are all abbreviations.

Acronyms are words formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as they are spelled, not as separate letters. For example:

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card

Contractions, on the other had, are a type of abbreviation in which letters from the middle of the word are omitted. For example:

Dr (Doctor)
Ltd (Limited)

You do not need to use a full stop at the end of contractions, because the last letter of the original word is still present. So, technically speaking, you will write ‘Mr’ and not ‘Mr.’

Initialisms are abbreviations which consist of the initial (i.e. first) letters of words and which are pronounced as separate letters when they are spoken. For example:

UK (United Kingdom)
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

A full stop is not required after the letters in an initialism. In American English, certain initialisms may include full stops if that is the preferred style. For example, US and U.S. are both correct, as long as you use them consistently.

Shortenings are abbreviations in which the beginning or end of the word has been dropped. In some cases both the beginning and the end have been omitted. For example:

Flu (influenza)
Telly (television)
Ad (advertisement)

You do not need to use a full stop unless the shortening is one created specifically for use in writing, for example:

Etc. (et cetera)

So where does the word ‘short form’ fit in all this? Well, it surely does not seem to be a very formal word. Neither the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary nor Wikipedia seem to find it worth including. What we refer to as a ‘short form’ is basically nothing but some kind of an abbreviation.

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Sandeep Nulkar - Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, BITS Private Limited Sandeep Nulkar started his career as a translator way back in 1993 and heads one of India’s largest translation and localisation companies – BITS Private Limited. He is a linguist by passion, businessman by choice and author by circumstances. Over the past decade, he has been working closely with the corporate world and with students and the academia to create an identity for the Indian translator within and outside India.