Use of Abbreviations in Business Letters
Use abbreviations sparingly, especially in the body of the letter. They detract from the appearance of the letter. They save only a fraction of a second on the part of the writer, while on the part of the reader, whose interests are all-important, they require more time, as the eye more readily grasps a word written in full than when abbreviated. When, you are in doubt as to whether to abbreviate or not, write the word in full.
The following rules reflect the best usage in regard to abbreviations.
1. An abbreviation should always be followed by a period.
2. Abbreviations of proper nouns and titles always begin with capital letters. Abbreviations of many other words and phrases begin with capital letters, even though such words and phrases do not begin with capital letters when written in full. The capitalization of abbreviations is entirely a matter of usage. For instance, free on board is usually written with small letters…thus B.O.B while collect on delivery is always written with capital letters….thus C.O.D.
3. Do not abbreviate the names of the days of the week or the names of the months in the body of a letter as….I will be at home on Monday, January 5." not "I will be at home on Mon., Jan. 5."
Note — Observe that when the month precedes the day of the month, d, st, or th is not used….thus, March 5, not March 5th. But when the name of the month does not precede the day of the month, d, St, or th is required. Thus, "The goods will be shipped by the 5th of May," "Your note falls due on the 10th instant."
4. Do not abbreviate the name of a state unless it is used as a part of an address…. as, "He lives in Virginia," not "He lives in Va."
5. Do not, as a rule, abbreviate titles designating official positions as, "Prof. E. M. Coulter, President,'' not "Prof. E. M. Coulter, Pres."
The reasons for this are that you do the person addressed greater courtesy by writing the title out in full and that the page presents a better appearance. Titles following the signature may be abbreviated when space requires it.
6. Do not use R. R. for railroad, Ry. for railway, nor Co. for company unless these words are a part of a proper name. Thus, "The railroad company is at fault," not "The R. R. Co. is at fault." "The company is willing to arbitrate the matter," not "The Co. is willing to arbitrate the matter."
7. Use the abbreviation No. or the sign # before figures….as. No. 5 or #5, not number 5. But do not use the abbreviation No. in such expressions as "a number of people."
8. While usage varies in writing the past tense and the present participle and the plural forms of 0. K., the following have the sanction of good authority: O. K'd or O. K.d; O. K'ing or O. K.ing; 0. K's or O. K.’s.
Note — While, as a rule, abbreviations should not be used in the body of the letter, the following have the sanction of good usage….a. m., p. m., i. e., viz., etc.,f. o. b., and C. O. D. Instant, ultimo, proximo,
while often abbreviated, are better spelled out in the body of the
Use of Abbreviations in Business Letters :
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