TOEIC | Business English | Chapter VII. Important Mechanical Matters Previous   Up   Next   

Chapter VII. Important Mechanical Matters

In this chapter we consider five matters:

1. Abbreviations.

2. The Apostrophe.

3. Capitals.

4. Figures and numerals.

5. Italics and Quotation Marks.

There is a best usage in all these matters. A strictly first-class printing house - there are none too many such houses - knows that usage, and if asked to get up booklets or catalogues in the best style it will see to it that your manuscript is put in shape, or the errors corrected in proof. But the process is expensive. It is far cheaper to have these things attended to in your own office. Besides, you want good usage even in material that does not go to the printer.

§ 31. Abbreviations

1. Do not abbreviate any word which yon wish to see printed in full.

2. Avoid an excessive number of abbreviations of any kind.

3. Use a. m. and p. m. for ante meridiem and post meridiem. That is, use small letters, or what the printers call lower-case type. But consider also whether the text would not look better if you said in the morning, in the afternoon.

4. The abbreviations inst., prox., ult. may well be relegated to the scrap heap. They are relics of outworn majesty, and many a correspondent has to stop and think what they mean.

5. Spell out March and April, June and July. For the other months we may use, in correspondence, Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept. [Note that t], Oct., Nov., Dec.

For the days of the week, Sun., Mon., Tues. [Note that es], Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat.

But in the text of an advertisement, for example, you will ordinarily want to spell out the names of months and days.

6. Mr., Mrs., Messrs., Jr., and Sr. are never spelled out.

Usage differs about Doctor and Professor, but it is good form to spell them out. Note that Dr. also stands for debtor. In book-work military titles are spelled out. Rev. and Right Rev. are spelled out in all formal texts.

7. Jas., Chas., Thos., Wm. etc. are permissible, but no man so named ever felt offended to find his name spelled out. Nicknames are not abbreviations, and do not take a period. Jim and Tom and Ed and Bill stand as here printed.

8. Anno Domini, year of our Lord, is abbreviated as A. D.

9. e.g. is read "for example." It is Latin exempli gratia. i.e. is read "that is." It is Latin id est. viz. is read "to wit." It is Latin videlicet. etc. is read et cetera or and so forth. It is a stupid blunder to write & etc. That & is merely a short way of writing et.

10. The ampersand (&) is correctly used in some author-ized business names, such as R. Hoe & Co.

11. Write the abbreviation Co. if the firm uses it on letter heads. Spell it out if the firm spells it out.

12. lb. means pounds as well as pound. But lbs. is also used.

13. For abbreviations in market reports and the sale of stocks and bonds, watch the trade journals.

14. Dept., sec, pres., treas. appear on letter-heads and in reports. Of course they should be spelled out in the text of booklets, etc.

15. The following are in use for correspondence: Ala., Ariz., Ark., Cal., Colo., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., I. T., Kan., Ky., La., Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N. H., N. J., N. M., N. Y., N. C, N. D., Okla., Ore., Pa., R. I., S. C, S. D., Tenn., Tex., Vt., Va., Wash., W. Va., Wis., Wyo.

But Cal. is often mistaken for Col.; Pa. is often taken or meant for Philadelphia; Miss, is often mistaken for Missouri. It is well to spell out California, Mississippi, Missouri, Maine, Iowa, Ohio, Utah, Alaska, and Idaho; and to use Penn. or Penna.

16. Two consecutive years may be written thus: 1910 -11.

17. Write 1911 rather than '11 - unless yon are referring to your class in college or high school.

18. In letters, June 10, 1911 is better than 6-10-11.

19. bldg., st., boul., av. are forms that are coming into good use. It is not wrong to use Bldg., St., Bvd., Av., Ave., but the influence of newspapers and directories is displacing them. Of course official names like Prairie Avenue Bank require the spelled-out word.

20. Newspapers are also popularizing such forms as Mc-Kinley high school, Albion college, when the phrase is not official.

21. "Free on board" is usually written f. o. b., but F. O. B. is also found.

22. The following abbreviations are in use in purely technical business English, as in bills. But in letters and articles most of them should be spelled out.

acct. account.

adtg. advertising.

agmt. agreement.

agt. agent.

amt. amount.

ans. answer.

assd. assorted.

asst. assistant.

atty. attorney.

av. average.

B. or b. book.

bal. balance.

B. B. bill book.

bbl. barrel or barrels.

bdl. bundle.

B/E. bill of exchange.

bgs. bags.

bk. bank.

bkts. baskets.

B/L. bill of lading.

blk. black.

bls. bales.

brls. barrels.

bot. bought.

B/P. bill of parcels.

B. Pay. or B. P. bills payable.

B. Rec. or B. B. bills receivable Bro. brother.

Bros. brothers, brot. brought. B/S. bill of sale, bu. or bush, bushels. bx. box. bxs. boxes.

C. B. cash book.

cert, or certif. certificate.

chgd. charged.

ck. check.

C. O. D. cash on delivery.

cr. credits or creditor.

C. S. L. commission sales ledger, ctg. cartage. cts. cents, cwt. hundredweight.

D. B. day book.

dft. draft disc't discount, do. the same.

dom. ex. domestic exchange, doz. dozen. Dr. debit, debtor, da. or ds. days, ea. each.

E. & 0. E. Errors and omissions excepted, ent. entered, et al. and others, exch. exchange. fol folio.


  • Previous: Punctuation, An Art. Part 3
  • Table of Contents
  • Next: Important Mechanical Matters. Part 2
  • Previous   Up   Next   

    About  |   Accent  |   TOEFL®  |   TOEIC®  |   IELTS  |   GMAT  |   GRE®  |   Online Degrees  |   Buy Now  |   Partners