MLA Abbreviations

MLA Abbreviations
Summary: MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.) and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing (3rd ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page. Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in MLA.
Contributors:Tony Russell, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2010-04-21 08:01:02
There are a few common trends in abbreviating that you should follow when using MLA, though there are always exceptions to these rules. For a complete list of common abbreviations used in academic writing, see Chapter 7 of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, and Chapter 8 of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition.
This guide provides only a very small portion of the abbreviations suggested by MLA. Each section cross-references the appropriate sections and page numbers of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers and the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.
Uppercase Letter Abbreviations
Do not use periods or spaces in abbreviations composed solely of capital letters, except in the case of proper names:
US, MA, CD, HTML
P. D. James, J. R. R. Tolkien, E. B. White
Lowercase Letter Abbreviations
Use a period if the abbreviation ends in a lower case letter, unless referring to an internet suffix, where the period should come before the abbreviation:
assn., conf., Eng., esp.
.com, .edu, .gov (URL suffixes)
Note: Degree names are a notable exception to the lowercase abbreviation rule.
PhD, EdD, PsyD
Use periods between letters without spacing if each letter represents a word in common lower case abbreviations:
a.m., e.g., i.e.
Other notable exceptions:
mph, os, rpm, ns
For more on upper- and lowercase letter abbreviation designations, see Section 7.1. Introduction (234) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, or Section 8.1. Introduction (261-62) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition.
Abbreviations in Citations
Condense citations as much as possible using abbreviations.
Time Designations
Remember to follow common trends in abbreviating time and location within citations. Month names longer than four letters used in journal and magazine citations:
Jan., Sept., Nov.
For more information on time designations, see Section 7.2. Time Designations (235) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, or Section 8.2. Time Designations (262-63) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition.
Geographic Names
Geographic names of states and countries in book citations when the publisher's city is not well known or could be confused with another city. Abbreviate country, province, and state names.
Logan, UT; Manchester, Eng.; Sherbrooke, QC
For more information on time designations, see Section 7.3. Geographic Names (236-40) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, or Section 8.3. Geographic Names (264-69) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition.
Scholarly Abbreviations
List common scholarly abbreviations as they appear below:
• Anon. for anonymous
• C. or ca. for circa
• Comp. for compiler
• Fwd. for foreword
• Jour. for journal
• Lib. for library
• Sec. or sect. for section
• Ser. for series
• Var. for variant
• Writ. for written by or writer
For more information on scholarly abbreviations, see Section 7.4. Common Scholarly Abbreviations and Reference Words (240-47) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, or Section 8.3. Common Scholarly Abbreviations and Reference Words (269-82) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition.
Publisher Names
Shorten publisher's names as much as possible in book citations. You only need to provide your readers with enough information for them to identify the publisher. Many publishers can be identified by only acronyms or a shortened version of their names.
MLA suggests a few rules for you to follow when abbreviating publishers:
• Omit articles, business abbreviations (like Corp. or Inc.), and descriptive words (e.g. Press, Publishers, House)
• Cite only the last name of a publisher with the name of one person (e.g. Norton for W. W. Norton) and only the last name of the first listed for a publisher with multiple names (e.g. McGraw for McGraw-Hill)
• Use standard abbreviations when possible (e.g. Assn. or Soc.)
• Use the acronym of the publisher if the company is commonly know by that abbreviation (e.g. MLA, ERIC, GPO)
• Use only U and P when referring to university presses (e.g. Cambridge UP or U of Chicago P)
Here is a short list of publisher abbreviations that you might use. Consult Chapter 7 of the MLA Handbook for a more complete list.
• Acad. for Educ. Dev. (Academy for Educational Development, Inc.)
• Gale (Gale Research, Inc.)
• Harper (Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc. & HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.)
• Little (Little, Brown and Company, Inc.)
• MIT P (The MIT Press)
• NCTE (The National Council of Teachers of English)
• SIRS (Social Issues Resources Series)
• UMI (University Microfilms International)
For more information on publisher names, see Section 7.4. Publishers’ Names (247-49) of the MLA Handbooks for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, or Section 8.3. Publishers’ Names (282-85) of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3rd edition.
This article originally appeared on http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/11/

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