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The Period (#4), by Dennis Oliver

The Period (#4):
More on Abbreviations for Time

One very common and important punctuation mark
( . ) looks like a small, dark circle. When this mark is
used with numbers, it's called a point. When it's used
in e-mail and WWW addresses, it's called a dot. In
other situations, it's called a period.

In American English, there are many common uses
for the period. One group of abbreviations is used for
time (in showing the names of months and days).

Here are some other common time abbreviations:

 

A.M.

 

 

P.M.

 

 

N.

 

 

M.

 

Notes:

 

1.

 

 

A.M. is an abbreviation of a Latin phrase:
ante meridiem. This phrase means
"before the middle of the day" (that is,
after midnight but before noon).

     
2.   P.M. is an abbreviation of another Latin
phrase: post meridiem. This phrase means
"after the middle of the day" (that is,
after noon but before midnight).
     
3.   N. is sometimes used as an abbreviation
for noon (12:00 in the middle of the day).
Technically, noon is neither A.M. nor P.M.
     
4.   M. is sometimes used as an abbreviation
for midnight (12:00 in the middle of the
night). Technically, midnight is neither
A.M. nor P.M.
   
5.  

The abbreviations A.M., P.M., N., and M.
are frequently used without periods:

AM / PM / N / M

_____________________________________________

 

The abbreviations B.C. and A.D. are also commonly
used to refer to periods of history. As a time expression,
B.C. means "before Christ" and A.D. is an abbreviation
for the Latin phrase anno domini ('in the year of the
Lord'--that is, 'after the birth of Christ'). Because these
terms have a specifically Christian reference, two other
abbreviations, B.C.E. and C.E. ('before the Common
Era' and 'Common Era'), are sometimes seen.

The abbreviations B.C., A.D., B.C.E., and C.E. are
also used without periods:

BC / AD / BCE / CE

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