Site Search:

The Period (#9), by Dennis Oliver

The Period (#9):
Formal Academic Writing

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, one common use for the period
is in abbreviations. Here are some abbreviations which
are commonly used in formal academic writing:


c., ca.  

circa (a Latin abbreviation meaning
approximately or about)

This abbreviation is most often used
in giving approximate dates.


The Inca Empire is believed to have
begun ca. 1200 AD.



This abbreviation is used when giving
bibliographic information (for example,
a list of references which are used in
a report, thesis, dissertation, etc.).


Azar, Betty Schrampfer: Understanding
and Using English Grammar,
3rd ed.



This abbreviation is used to show
the name of an editor, not an author.


Letheridge, S., & Cannon, C.R. (Eds.).
(1980). Bilingual Education: Teaching
English as a Second Language.


exempli gratia (a Latin abbreviation
used to mean for example)


Linking verbs (e.g., be, seem, appear)
are traditionally followed by subject
pronouns or adjectives.

et al.  

et alii (a Latin abbreviation meaning
and others)

This abbreviation is used to show that
one or two authors and other authors
wrote a particular work.


McKay et al: A History of World
Societies. (McKay was one of several
authors for this book.)


et cetera (a Latin abbreviation used
to mean and other similar things)


Adverbs of degree (very, quite, too,
extremely, highly, etc.) may precede
both adjectives and other adverbs.


id est (a Latin abbreviation meaning
that is)

This abbreviation is used in showing
explanations or paraphrases.


Pisanky (i.e., Ukrainian Easter eggs)
usually feature elaborate ornamentation.


nota bene (a Latin abbreviation
meaning note well or pay special
attention to)

NB: Visitors without special passes will
not be permitted in the display room.


opus (a Latin abbreviation meaning work)

This abbreviation is used for numbered
musical compositions by a composer.


"Eroica" is the common name for
Beethoven's Symphony number 3, Op. 55.

Dave's ESL Cafe is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Banner Advertising | Bookstore / Alta Books | FAQs | Articles | Interview with Dave
Copyright 1995-2007 Dave's ESL Cafe | All Rights Reserved | Contact Dave's ESL Cafe | Site Map