Abbreviations and Acronyms
Guidelines for using abbreviations in geographical references, addresses, locations, and dates and times. Also: some common acronyms.
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All-cap abbreviations of geographical locations take periods: P.E.I., U.S., U.K.
But a hundred American dollars is written as US$100.
When used as adjectives, geographical locations may be abbreviated: the B.C. premier, the U.S. president. But when used as nouns, write them out.
- He moved from the U.K. to the southern U.S.
- He moved from the United Kingdom to the southern United States.
Exception: You can use the abbreviated form in a headline.
Note: CP style is to also write out United Nations as a noun but to use the abbreviation UN as an adjective with well-known organizations such as the UN Security Council.
Metric symbols such as km, m and mm aren’t abbreviations, so they don’t take periods except at the end of a sentence.
Use abbreviations in addresses where the number is used: 24 College Ave. E.
If there’s no number, write out the street name: Stone Road West.
When mentioning Guelph or a major Canadian or U.S. city whose location is widely known, don’t add the province or state: He lived in Vancouver for three years before moving to Chicago. For other communities, however, add the province or state and abbreviate it: She lived in Embro, Ont., for three years before moving to Hudson, Mich.
Use the traditional abbreviation, not the two-letter capped one without periods used by Canadian and U.S. postal services. So: Ont., not ON. And B.C., not BC.
Note: Nfld. is no longer used. The abbreviation is N.L. for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Dates and Times
For dates, use only numerals: Jan. 1, not Jan. 1st.
For months used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out standing alone or with a year alone: Convocation was held Nov. 17, 2006. The course lasted through January 1991.
No :00 for exact hours: The service will begin at 11 a.m. (not 11:00 a.m.).
Say noon and midnight (rather than 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.).
Write a.m. and p.m. without spaces or caps.
Use initialisms (CFI, COU, CFIA, AAFC) or acronyms (NATO, OMAFRA, CIDA) in brackets after the full name only if used again in the article.
- AAFC – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
- AUCC – Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Note: Now Universities Canada.
- CAUT – Canadian Association of University Teachers
- CCAE – Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education
- CFI – Canada Foundation for Innovation (Canada, not Canadian; for, not of.)
- CIHR – Canadian Institutes of Health Research (of, not for)
- CIS – Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Note: Now U Sports.
- COU – Council of Ontario Universities (of, not on)
- NSERC – Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Natural, not National, and plural Sciences)
- NCE – Networks of Centres of Excellence (note two plurals)
- OCE – Ontario Centres of Excellence
- OMAFRA – Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- OUA – Ontario University Athletics
- OCUA – Ontario Council on University Affairs
- OCUFA – Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
- OFS – Ontario Federation of Students
- SSHRC – Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
- U Sports – formerly Canadian Interuniversity Sport