Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

I found a very old thread here on the same topic, but would like to know if anything changed in the last few years.
The company I work for is developing their Drafting Standards and most likely is going to end up forcing everybody to use abbreviations with periods (T.O.S., O.C., W.P., etc.).
I didn't use periods in abbreviations for the past 10 years or so, and the drawings look so outdated (IMHO) with periods everywhere.
ASME Y14.38-2007 Abbreviations and Acronyms for Use on Drawings and Related Documents simply has this:
An abbreviation spelling a whole word should include a period if the abbreviation could be misinterpreted."
Then they just list 100 or so pages of all sorts of abbreviations without periods or spaces.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

Sure, look at your own post. ASME is an abbreviation, as is IMHO. That should answer your question.

Or, look at ASME Y14.4M, which is littered with abbreviations with no periods in sight, and this is the 1989 edition.

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

Need help writing a question or understanding a reply? forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers

Of course I can. I can do anything. I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
There is a homework forum hosted by engineering.com: http://www.engineering.com/AskForum/aff/32.aspx

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

I suppose the ASME recommendation means something like using FOUND. for foundation. I don't know why you would use an abbreviation like that, but if you didn't use the period, it could be misinterpreted. There is certainly no reason for periods in TOS, OC, WP, etc, but these acronyms (not abbreviations) should be defined in the documents to prevent misinterpretation.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

I was taught that however you show it in your list of abbreviations, then that's how it should appear throughout the documents. I've seen some unusual abbreviations but the lawyers say that if that's what you say it is, then that's what it is per the contract.

"If thou sayeth the sky is green, my Lord, then the sky is green" E. Taylor, "Taming of the Shrew".

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

If the drawings are for buildings, consider coordinating the company standards with the National CAD Standards http://www.nationalcadstandard.org/ncs6/index.php. I don't know if this standard states "do not punctuate abbreviations." But, their abbreviation list does not use them.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

Thank you all!
I wonder if there is a clear stating anywhere in ASME Standards on what is the recommended way to go.
I found it in the Military Standards MIL-STD-12D (1981) and they sure suggest NOT to use punctuations.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

Somehow, the identification of ASME was never revealed and whether they have other authority to say what "should" be used and not "required". - It is actually suggestion and not required or a standard of practice.

It seems like grabbing some reference could lead to problems if other professionals, customers, suppliers and contractors cannot relate to an older reference.

Can you imagine the confusion and costs involved when ASTM (or is to A.S.T.M.?.) had to renumber all 100,000 or so standards, methods and requirements. It becomes very costly for a firm or professional to convert their reference to perform effectively.

Right now, just changing a couple of words in a ASTM (A.S.T.M.) standard takes about two years if the proposer is familiar with the requirements and procedures.

I think ASME (A.S.M.E. ?) is probably an acronym and not a abbreviation (a.b.r.).

A cute subject to bring up.


Engineer and international traveler interested in construction techniques, problems and proper design.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

I learn something every day. Can't say that I had heard of the word 'initialism', but according to this source, the definitions are still evolving. This English language is tough.


RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

I find that the periods reduce clarity by making it more difficult to discern where sentences end.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

In case of research papers, standard practice adopted by ACI, ASCE and most of others, is to define a an abbreviation for a long word to be use again and again, at the first occurrence of the term. later on, only abbreviation is used. Now this abbreviation may be either applicable to that particular research paper only, or to all the papers or research relevant to same material. Moreover, the abbreviations used may have totally different definition, from those used outside that particular paper or study report.

The point is that these abbreviations are 'without' period. For example, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP), powder-actuated fastened (PAF), cement kiln dust (CKD) etc. Similarly, the abbreviations used for organization names are invariably all WITHOUT period. (e.g., AASHTO, AISC, AISI, API etc., besides those mentioned above.)

In case of standards and codes however the abbreviations used may be given either at the start of each chapter, or at the beginning of the document itself. These definitions may include both the internationally recognized abbreviations, and the ones specific to that standard or code only.

A good structural engineer is often a blessing for others.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

KootK, agreed. Seems like a minor thing but it is not.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

KootK, I didn't even think about THAT, but you are right....specially in the case of notes on the drawings.
So, saving space, time, gaining clarity....... should make reasonable people to see which way to go, right?
That is if you happen to work with REASONABLE people...

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

Surely, given all of this overwhelming and logical support for not having periods, you can convince you overlords to see the light?

It's a minor thing but the periods even bother me aesthetically. I hate that my business cards say B.Eng., M.Eng. Ph.D., P.Eng., M.B.A., D.D.S, L.L.B. BEng, MEng, PhD, PEng, MBA, DDS, LLB seems so much cleaner and compact. But then, what do I know? My professional association actually regulates this.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

Talk about periods and no periods.
How do you punctuate fun fun fun worry worry worry?
Fun period, fun period, fun no period, worry worry worry period.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

But going back to my problem...there is NO fun at workplace anymore.....I'll have endless flow of periods........and I worry!

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

I'll refrain from commenting on that last statement. Period.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

But going back to my problem...there is no FUN (I don't like the situation I am in) at workplace anymore.....I'll have endless flow of PERIODS (punctuations)........and I WORRY (I think I'll have to comply)!
I am glad we all having FUN with that!............. :)

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

At least I understand what a period does. Commas have always, and shall always remain a mystery to me.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

As is made; clear by your post smile.

An editor friend once explained the importance of commas to me by asking me to compare the two sentences:
"Let's eat, Grandma."
"Let's eat Grandma."

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

I be an engineer for a reason. I often just throw in a comma when it feels like one should be in there somewhere.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?

Everytime you need to take a breath, add a comma.

That's how I was taught, although I don't believe they anticipated how many commas would be in a smoker's sentence compared to a non-smoker.

RE: Abbreviations-periods or no periods?


Oh... but I am trying sooooo hard to restrain myself...

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Solutions Brief - Protecting and Rescuing On-Ground Personnel
Keeping our warfighters safe and delivering them a competitive advantage is a key goal of departments of defense around the world. It’s a goal shared by embedded computing manufacturers like Abaco: we never forget who we serve.This case study describes how a major international contractor integrated an Abaco single board computer at the heart of its CAS/CSAR solution. Download Now
Datasheet - Top Enhancements Creo 7.0
PTC's Creo 7.0 has breakthrough innovations in the areas of generative design, real-time simulation, multibody design, additive manufacturing, and more! With Creo 7.0, you will be able to design the most innovative products faster than ever before, keeping you on the cutting edge of product design and ahead of your competition. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close