Correct Composition/Chapter 2

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CLIPPED WORDS are as old as writing. They were stamped on coins and medals and cut in stone or pressed on bricks long before Genesis was written. Medieval books are full of them. The practice began with the copyists who wished to put many words in a small space, as well as to lighten their own labor, but it was carried to such an extent that the books, then made were hard to read,[1] and scholars everywhere complained of their obscurity. Books had to be published to explain their intent.
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From Doctor John Scott's Commentary on the Four Books of Sentences. Part of the last paragraph and colophon. Printed by Windelin of Speyer, Venice, 1475.

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From the Modus Legendi Abbreviaturas, etc. Two paragraphs and the colophon on its last page. Printed by Martin Flach, Strasburg, 1499. The facsimiles on the previous page, from two books of the fifteenth century, are fair exhibits of the frequency of early abbreviations.

When books in roman type were printed in the sixteenth century for the unschooled reader, the abbreviations were used sparingly, but they were not entirely under ban in descriptive writing even in the eighteenth century. They might have been frequent in print if compositors could have put them in diminutive letters and on a higher line as readily as the writer of the manuscript, but the selection and adjustment of small type in the text made composition more difficult. When the pub- lisher found that this use of small type delayed work and increased cost, abbreviating with small

A Letter from Robert Scott, the London Agent of Dr. Thomas Marshall, to Samuel Clarice, concerning Type-metal for the Clarendon Press.

These for Mr Clerke att his house in Holy Well in Oxford.

Octobr 29th : 1668. Mr Clerke I haue rec' both yor lettrs 5 & had sooner giuen you answer : butt yt I was out of towne ; now first for Mr Lee, I find hee is willing to Comply in all yt ye Vniuersity hath desired & will shortley giue mee some letters wch shall bee as a Standard for ye mettall, . . . this is all att prsent from Sr

Yor Serut to Comand

Robert Scott.

From Notes on a Century of Typography at the University Press, Oxford, 1693-1794, etc. (Horace Hart, 1900), p. 155.

Baskett the patentee for bible-printing in Engl. having beſides obtained a leaſe of their printing-houſe from the Univ. of Oxf. and having alſo as he thought ſecured the printing-h. at Edinburgh, immediately levied upon the populace an advance of £60 ꝑ cent, on bibles and comm. pr. books, raiſing an enormous tax upon the people for reading the ſcriptures, and for learning to "pray by rote upon the book." and this is what is called religion. he impoſed upon the ſimple folk at his own price books printed on bad paper and worſe letter.— for 11d. the duty charged by government on a ream of paper be charged to the people 11s. ſo they were taxed this way and that way, yet the aſſigns of Moſes had no part of the gains.

More moderate were The Comp. of Stat. who for the additional 1d. charged upon almanacs charged to the people no more than 3d.—ſuch are the effects of charters and patents granted to leeches, and to ſuch leaches only be they granted as to Rock and others who are panders for the devil.—but why are the people ſuch fools? — comm. prayer and ſcripture they may have for their tythes.for almanacs they may revive The clogg,—or there is a vagabond Iſraelite who ſells "Perpetual almanacs that laſts for ever."

From Mores's English Typographical Founders and Founderies (London, 1778), p. 79.

type had to give way to the cheaper method of using text type only, and of shortening the word with period or apostrophe. In account-books and epistolary writing abbreviations of w'd for would, w'h for which, ye for the, hon'ble for honorable, judgm't for judgment, and gents, for gentlemen, were common. Although tolerated in some printed books after the year 1800, they are now regarded as evidences of laziness or illiteracy. The rule is inflexible that words must be in full in all places where space permits.[2] In formal legal documents, and even in brief notes or cards printed or written for occasions of ceremony, the number of the year and the day of the month must be spelled out in full. In almanacs, arithmetics, dictionaries, gazetteers, and technical books of like nature, abbreviations are not a fault but a positive merit where they save needed space. In treatises on botany, chemistry, or algebra and the higher mathematics, signs, symbols, and abbreviations are most helpful to the student. To print words in full would be a hindrance, especially so when it would prevent the neat arrangement of figures in columns and tables that makes the subject-matter clear at a glance.


The compositor finds it perplexing to make or to follow fixed rules for the proper use of abbreviations. The method that is suitable for the footnotes of a history is not becoming for its text. Contractions permissible and commendable in the narrow columns of tabular work are not allowed in the descriptive text of a book. There must be dissimilar methods for the different forms of composition frequently required, and the compositor should not be required to determine the method.

The line between a proper and an improper use can be most satisfactorily drawn by the author, who should not abbreviate any word in his copy which he intends shall be printed at full length. Even the abbreviations for foot- or for side-notes should also be written exactly as they are to appear in that note. When these notes are extracts from or citations of authors who write in a foreign language, too much care cannot be given to distinctness of writing. The compositor cannot spell out or contract technical words that he does not understand, or put points, italic, and capitals in proper places unless they are so marked in copy.

For the ordinary descriptive text the rule to avoid abbreviations is now generally obeyed. No form of carelessness in writing, not even the misuse of capitals and italic, so plainly indicates the undisciplined writer as the abuse of abbreviations. Cobbett has stigmatized them as plain indications of slovenliness and vulgarity.


Acceptable abbreviations in the text of a book are not numerous. Mr., Mrs., Messrs., Hon., Right Hon., Jr., Sr. (or Jun., Sen.), Esq., Rev., and Right Rev. are tolerated in newspapers and magazines, and even in some books, but it is more decorous to spell out all the words in the preceding list except Mr., Mrs., Messrs., Jr., and Sr. Doctor and Professor should always be spelled out. In newspapers Gen., Capt., Col., and Maj. are sometimes allowed, but in book-work these titles should be in full, as General, Captain, Colonel, and Major. When the title is double and is connected with a hyphen, as in Major-general or Lieutenant-colonel, the first word takes the capital letter. The same ruling should be applied to Ex-governor or Ex-senator.


Ante meridiem and post meridiem are frequently presented in the small capitals a.m. and p.m. without a separating space, but it is now a commoner practice to make use of lower-case letters for a.m. and p.m., as is here shown.

The abbreviations inst., prox., and ult., which are usual in correspondence and commercial work, are entirely improper in the texts of books. The name of the month should be in full. The days of the week and the name of the month may be abbreviated in the narrow columns of a table, but never in any place where there is full space.

The names of months and days should always be in full in the text of a standard book. In the narrow measure of a side-note and elsewhere they may be abbreviated, as is shown on the next page.

  • Jan.
  • Feb.
  • Mch.
  • Apl.
  • Aug.
  • Sept.
  • Oct.
  • Nov.
  • Dec.
  • Sun.
  • Mon.
  • Tues.
  • Wed.
  • Thurs.
  • Fri.
  • Sat.

Mch. and Apl. are quite unsightly. June and July cannot be abbreviated with distinctness.

When dates are used, 2d or 3d may be allowed in places where 2nd and 3rd are objectionable. (See chapter on Figures and Numerals.)


The printed abbreviation of the baptismal proper name is permissible, and indeed obligatory, when used for a signature intended to show autographic peculiarity in the abbreviated form preferred by the signer, as in Jas., Chas., Thos., Wm., etc.; but when this name appears in the text, and not as a signature, it should be in full. Abbreviation of the baptismal name or names, or the use of the initial letter or letters, is permissible also in all pamphlets where many names have to appear in a narrow column.

Some liberties are taken by writers in the contraction of names like Ja's, Wm, Cha's, and Tho's, but they make unsightly words in print, and fully justify the proof-reader in reminding the writer that Jas., Wm., Chas., and Thos. are forms more approved.

Nicknames and pet names, like Bob, Dick, Jim, Tom, and Joe, do not belong to the class of abbreviations, for they do not require a full point after the last letter; but Wm., Jas., Chas., and Geo. are rated as abbreviations requiring a full point. The pet names may appear in the text of a book as here printed, but clipped names like Wm. and Geo. should there appear in full as William and George. In all foot- and side-notes the initial or initials only of the baptismal name or names of the author of a cited book may be inserted, but this name should be printed in full in the list of authorities or in the index. Formal abbreviations of anno Domini, anno mundi, anno hejirae, anno urbis conditae, and before Christ are made with A.D., a.m., a.h., a.u.c., and B.C. For this purpose small capitals closely set are preferred.

Other abbreviations, like e.g. for exempli gratia, i.e. for id est, q.v. for quod vide, viz. for videlicet or to wit, etc. for et cetera, are frequently put in lower-case, and, when composed of two or more abbreviated words, without any separating space. They have a grudged tolerance in ordinary books, but careful writers avoid them in their texts, even when they make use of them in tables and footnotes: six o'clock in the morning and for example will be so written for the text, while 6 a.m. and e.g. will be substituted for the foot- or side-note.

Italic is frequently but not always wisely used for the common abbreviations q.v., viz., e.g.


The seven marks of reference made for foot-notes * † ‡ ‖ § ¶ ☞ are seldom used in the best books. They have been condemned as too few for many notes on the same page, as well as for their want of regularity. Some are too weak and others are too bold. Superior figures and letters [3] are preferred: the figures for the texts of ordinary books; the letters for cut-in notes of pocket Bibles, and for other notes when many in number.


The ampersand & is proper for the exact rendering of the signature or the authorized business name of a firm of copartners or a corporation, as in R. Hoe & Co. or New York & Harlem Railroad Co. It is in this form that such names are used in newspapers and pamphlets, and even in ordinary books. When many firm names are printed in a column, as in signatures, the & and the Co. should be retained as the true copy of each signature.[4] The ampersand is occasionally found in the leading line of display in the title-pages of fine English books, but this use of & is rare in America. Why & should be forbidden in the text and allowed in the title-page has never been explained.


The abbreviation Co., as in The Century Co., must be so used when it is the company's approved form of imprint and signature. The compositor should not spell out Co. as Company in the official document of any company without a distinct order to that effect. When the firm name is to be set in all capital letters, the final o in Co. should not be in lower-case, and the same method should be observed with Jr. and Sr., or Jun. and Sen.:

Incorrect Correct

The spelling out of abbreviations should be confined to all writings that have been carelessly prepared, not with intent, but through inadvertence or thoughtlessness. Extracts, quotations, and documents inserted in any text should be faithfully copied, with all their faults. Without special order, the compositor should not try to amend, in the copy of an educated writer, any supposed fault in spelling, abbreviation, or punctuation, or in the use of italic. Yet the compositor is often requested to amend the grosser faults of an illiterate or careless writer. It is not possible here to define where the amendment should begin or end. Faults of writing often convey to the reader a clearer notion of the style and mental status of the writer than can be gathered from his words properly rendered. Abbreviations of honorary titles, as A.M., M.D., LL.D., and D.D., are usually put in capitals when they are appended to a name in the text composed almost entirety of lower-case letters. When the abbreviations of many titles are added to the name, as in

John Robinson, M.D., F.R.S., K.C.B.,

the absurdity of capitalizing the abbreviations of titles and making them more prominent than the name becomes painfully conspicuous. Despite the absurdity, this use of capitals for abbreviated titles in the text is made imperative in many offices. When the small capitals of the text letter have a little more prominence than the lower-case letters (which they seldom have), the small capitals will be found a more pleasing substitute.

In the title-pages of books a contrary practice prevails. When the name of the author has many letters, and the honorary titles are many, these honorary titles are sometimes made smaller than the name by being put in small capitals. This makes a crooked or unbalanced line of display. When honorary titles are numerous it is the usual practice to put them in one or more lines of small capitals or small lower-case below the name.


Abbreviations may make confusion. The initials A.M. are abbreviations of three distinct phrases: master of arts, in the year of the world, and before noon. Dr. stands for doctor and debtor; P.M., for postmaster and afternoon. As a rule, the context prevents misunderstanding, but abbreviations are sometimes used which cannot be explained by the context. What is worse, a short word may be misunderstood as an abbreviation.[5]


The abbreviations oftenest used are to be found in the dictionaries; but for the abbreviations used in works on chemistry, botany, medicine, mathematics, and other sciences, in which they are sometimes conjoined with signs, an approved modern text-book of these sciences is the only safe authority. 46 Mathematical and astronomical signs MATHEMATICAL SIGNS + plus - minus × multiplied by ± or ∓ plus or minus ÷ divided by = equal to > greater than < less than ∫ difference between ∝ proportioned to ∞ indefinitely more 0 indefinitely less ∠ angle ∟ right angle ⊥ perpendicular ∥ parallel ≚ equiangular ○ full circle or 360 ◠ arc of circle ▭ rectangle △ triangle □ square ∶ and ∷ signs of geometrical proportion, as in A∶B∷C∶D ܅ minus, the sign of mathematical proportion ∷ equal to, in arithmetical proportion ∴ therefore ∵ because √ root or radical  ̅ vinculum | bar ∆ finite difference ° degree of circle ′ minute of circle ″ second of circle



🌞︎ Sun ☿ Mercury ♀ Venus 🜨 Earth ♂ Mars ♃ Jupiter ♄ Saturn ☉ Uranus ♆ Neptune


🌚︎ new moon 🌛︎ first quarter 🌝︎ full moon

🌜︎ last quarter


♈︎ Aries, the ram ♉︎ Taurus, the bull ♊︎ Gemini, the twins ♋︎ Cancer, the crab ♌︎ Leo, the lion ♍︎ Virgo, the virgin ♎︎ Libra, the scales ♏︎ Scorpio, scorpion ♐︎ Sagittarius, archer ♑︎ Capricornus,goat ♒︎ Aquarius,waterman ♓︎ Pisces, the fishes


☌ conjunction □ quadrature ☊ ascending node ☋ descending node ☍ opposition ☾ or ☉ quintile ⚹ sextile △ trine


@ at or to ⅌ per ℔ pound % per cent. ℀ account ℅ care of ° degree ′ minute $ dollar ¢ cent £ pound / shilling


℞ recipe ā or āā of each same quantity ℔ pound 0 pint ♏ drop ℥ ounce ʒ drachm ℈ scruple

Quantities are always written in lower-case letters. If the quantity expressed ends with i, the final i is made as j, as in vij, which represents seven.

The abbreviation ℔ may properly be selected for pounds, but some dictionaries sanction ℔s.

The abbreviations that appear in newspapers for reports of markets and of sales of stocks and bonds at the stock exchange, for horse-racing, base-ball, and aquatic sports, as well as many used in the catalogues of booksellers, auctioneers, and manu- facturers, are not to be found in any dictionary. Some of them soon go out of use and are forgot- ten, but others stay and ultimately find a place in proper text-books. In the absence of printed au- thority, the proof-reader should make up a manu- script book of the unlisted abbreviations he has to use repeatedly. Without this guide he may pass abbreviations of the same word in two forms.


  • ✠ The Maltese cross is used before their signatures by certain dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church. It is also used in the service-books of that church to notify the reader when to make the sign of the cross. The ordinary reference-mark † (the dagger) should not be used as a substitute.
  • ✝ The Latin cross.
  • ☓ St. Andrew's cross.
  • ℟ Response in service-books. The apothecaries' sign ℞ is not an entirely acceptable substitute.
  • ℣ Versicle in service-books.
  • ⁎ indicates the words intoned by the celebrant.


A printer is seldom asked to abbreviate long words. If so required, to maintain uniformity in column matter, the abbreviations made, especially in Latin words, should end preferably on a consonant, as merc. cor. for mercurius corrosivus.

Many Latin words, as pro tempore and per centum, have been incorporated in the English language in their abbreviated forms pro tem, and per cent. They do not really need the abbreviating period, but if the author systematically uses the period the compositor must follow his method. They need not be in italic.

Medieval copyists made many abbreviations, but few of them have been reproduced by American type-founders, and those mainly for bodies of ten-eleven- and twelve-point roman. The few made and most used are cꝰ for cujus; n̄ for non; ꝑ for per, por, par; q̄ for qui; ꝗ for quod; qꝫ for que; ꝝ for rum; ꝫ for et.[6] Made with many variations by different copyists and different printers, they were hard to decipher even in their own time. They are used now mainly by librarians for the exact rendering of the colophons or titles of old books.


Dialect, slang, and colloquialisms are considered of value in giving piquancy to a story or novel, and each writer has a method of his own which the compositor must follow. When he can do so, and the author permits, he should make one word of all colloquial clippings of speech, as ain't or hain't, don't, won't, can't, shan't, putting no space between the words and using the apostrophe in place of the cancelled letter. Ain't and are n't are of bad form, but permissible as exhibits of vulgarisms. According to rule, shan't should have two apostrophes (one for the elision in shall, and one for that in not), but two apostrophes in one short word are unsightly, and one is customary.

I 've, you 'll, 't was, 't was n't, 't is, 't is n't, etc., are more clearly expressed when a thin space is put between the words, but in some printing-houses this space is often omitted by order.

'I've forgotten the countersign,' sez 'e.
'Oh! You 'ave,'ave you?' sez I.
'But I'm the Colonel,' sez 'e.
'Oh! You are, are you?' sez I.
'Colonel nor no Colonel, you waits 'ere till I'm relieved, an' the Sarjent reports on your ugly old mug. Coop!' sez I. . . . An' s'elp me soul, 't was the Colonel after all! Kipling.

The Century dictionary prefers a thin space before the apostrophe when is or has is clipped to 's, but the space should be thinner than that between other words in that line, as :

It's true, the man's thoroughly exhausted.
He's arrived by the Empire State Express.

The thinner space is intended to show that the short form of is or has should not be confounded with the possessive form of the pronouns.

The man's services were appreciated.
It's the New York Central's fastest train.

Dialect matter, for which there can be no good authority but that of the author, should be spelled as written, even when the same word is abbreviated or contracted in different ways. It is unwise to attempt uniformity without a written code or permission from the author.


Quotations from obsolete authors, or reprints of old books or documents, or illustrative letters by illiterate people, should be accurate copies of the originals. Every fault of bad spelling, or misuse of capitals or italic, should be faithfully repeated to the minutest particular, so far as the types will allow. Old-style abbreviations with superior letters, such as wd, wh, ye, etc., are troublesome, and may lead to the dropping out of a superior letter which cannot be justified securely ; but they must be repeated unless a distinct order is given to spell out.


When a sentence begins with the specification of a number, the spelled-out form should always be used, even if arabic figures are made to serve for other numbers in the same paragraph or sentence.[7]

Abbreviations like dept. or dep't, gov't, sec., sec'y, or sect'y, pres't, and treas. are indefensible in any kind of pamphlet work or job-work when they appear, as they usually do, in open lines with ample space. Even in hurried job-work abbreviations like these are damaging to the reputation of any printing-house. They often appear in the engraved headings of official letter-paper and in the display lines of job-printers, so made with intent to put many words in one line of large letters, in places where the words would have been clearer and more comely in two lines of smaller letters.


The names of states and territories frequently have to be abbreviated in job-work, and in gazetteers and guide-books where space must be economized, but in a well-printed book Burlington, Vermont, should be so presented, and not as Burlington, Vt.

Alabama Ala.
Arizona Ariz.
Arkansas Ark.
California Cal.
Colorado Colo.
Connecticut Conn.
Delaware Del.
Florida Fla.
Georgia Ga.
Illinois Ill.
Indiana Ind.
Indian Territory. I.T.
Kansas Kan.
Kentucky Ky.
Louisiana La.
Maryland Md.
Massachusetts Mass.
Michigan Mich.
Minnesota Minn.
Mississippi Miss.
Missouri Mo.
Montana Mont.
Nebraska Neb.
Nevada Nev.
New Hampshire N.H.
New Jersey N. J.
New Mexico N.M.
New York N.Y.
North Carolina N.C.
North Dakota N.D.
Oklahoma Okla.
Oregon Ore.
Pennsylvania Pa.
Rhode Island R.I.
South Carolina S.C.
South Dakota S.D.
Tennessee Tenn.
Texas Tex.
Vermont Vt.
Virginia Va.
Washington Wash.
West Virginia W.Va.
Wisconsin Wis.
Wyoming Wyo.
Maine, Iowa, Ohio, Utah, Alaska, and Idaho are always unwisely abbreviated. It is better practice to spell out Mississippi and Missouri in any position where there is full space, for the abbreviations Miss, and Mo. are not sufficiently distinct. Penn. is clearer than Pa., which may be improperly taken for Philadelphia as well as for Pennsylvania.


Ordinary sizes of books specified as in folio, quarto, octavo, or duodecimo may be in words. For the sizes smaller than sextodecimo words in Latin or English seem pedantical. Arabic figures convey a clearer notion to the reader, but figures cannot be consistently used, for there is no approved abbreviation for folio, and a figure has an unsightly appearance when it appears, as it often does, at the beginning of a sentence. In book-lists 4to, 8vo, 16mo, 64mo, and other compounds are tolerated as savers of space, but they should not have the abbreviating period.


Old Testament

  • Gen. xi. 17
  • Exod.
  • Lev.
  • Num.
  • Deut.
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Sam.
  • 2 Sam.
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 1 Chron.
  • 2 Chron.
  • Ezra
  • Neh
  • Esther
  • Job
  • Ps.
  • Prov.
  • Eccles.
  • Song of Sol.
  • Isa.
  • Jer.
  • Lam.
  • Ezek.
  • Dan.
  • Hos.
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obad.
  • Jonah
  • Mic.
  • Nahum
  • Hab.
  • Zeph.
  • Hag.
  • Zech.
  • Mal.

New Testament

  • Matt.
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • John
  • Acts
  • Rom.
  • 1 Cor.
  • 2 Cor.
  • Gal.
  • Eph.
  • Phil.
  • Col.
  • 1 Thess.
  • 2 Thess.
  • 1 Tim.
  • 2 Tim.
  • Titus
  • Philem.
  • Heb.
  • Jas.
  • 1 Pet.
  • 2 Pet.
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
  • Rev.


  • 1 Esdras
  • 2 Esdras
  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • Rest of Esth.
  • Wisd. of Sol.
  • Ecclus.
  • Baruch
  • Song of Three
  • Susanna
  • Bel and Dragon
  • Pr. of Manasses
  • 1 Macc.
  • 2 Macc.


Authorities cited in foot-notes should be specified in the following order:

1 The best-known name of author. The initial or initials of the baptismal name to be given only when needed to identify one author from another of the same name. Set name in roman lower-case only, unless otherwise ordered. The use of small capitals is an old fashion, and is lapsing into disuse.

2 The name of the book in roman lower-case, always abbreviated in the same form. The full title, with all its words spelled out, may be given in the list of authorities at the end of the book. Some publishers require the full title of the book to be inclosed with marks of quotation, but this formality is more common in the text, and is unnecessary in the foot-note.

3 The number of the volume in roman numerals of capital letters. When the small capitals of the text type are taller than the round letters of the lower-case, small capitals should be preferred. If the small capitals are not tall, or if condensed and not clear, use the full capitals. The period may be omitted. (See exhibits of notes on pages 58, 59.)

4 The number of the page in arabic figures. The specification of the edition of the book from which the citation has been made is required only when two or more editions have been printed with changes in paging and subject-matter. If the edition is clearly specified in the list of authorities, this information need not be repeated in the foot-note.

In many books frequently cited, like the Bible, Shakspere, Blackstone, Homer, or Horace, the passage quoted cannot be specified properly by giving the number of volume and page, for there are too many editions in different form. Book, chapter, and verse, section and paragraph, or canto, stanza, and line must be specified. This cannot be done readily, for the ordinary font of text type has not enough characters to give a separate distinction to each abbreviation. The following abbreviations are approved and used by the Century dictionary :

Number of paragraph only No. 68
Stanza only st. 18
Page only p. 213
Line only l. 384
Paragraph only ¶ 34
Section only § 5
Chapter only xiv.
Canto only xiv.
Book only iii.
Book and chapter iii. 2
Part and chapter
Book and line
Act and scene
Act, scene, and line iv. 3. 45
Chapter and verse II. 34
Number and page
Volume and page
Volume and chapter IV. iv.
Part, book, and chapter II. iv. 12
Part, canto, and stanza II. iv. 12
Chapter, section, paragraph vii. § 3, ¶ 4
Volume, part, section, paragraph I. i. § 2, ¶ 6
Book, chapter, section, paragraph I. i. § 2, ¶ 6
In an abbreviated reference to the Bible or to

the plays of Shakspere, use arabic figures instead of roman numerals to specify first, second, or third part of the same epistle, play, or book ; but put these figures before the name of the play or book. Give at least one full syllable to each abbreviation of the book, and where it is possible make the ab- breviation end with a consonant.

In making reference to Shakspere's 1 Henry VI, iii. 2. 14, the form here given is the preferred style of the Clarendon Press. Some writers prefer 1 Henry VI, in. ii. 14. The great objection to small capitals is their too frequent insignificance.

From English Past and Present, by R. C. Trench

  • 1 Guest, Hist, of English Rhythms, vol. I. p. 280.
  • 2 Hooker, Eccles. Pol. i. 3, 5.
  • 3 Craik, On the English of Shakespeare, 2nd edit. p. 97.
  • 4 Marsh, Manual of the English Language, Engl. edit. p. 278.

From Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
Murray's edition of 1881
(8 vols. 8vo)

  • 1 Orosius, I. ii. c. 19, p. 143.
  • 2 Heineccius, Antiquitat. Juris Roman, torn, i, p. 96.
  • 3 Jornandes, de Reb. Get. c. 30, p. 654 [p. 87, ed. Lugd. B. 1597].
  • 4 Ausonius (de Claris TMribus. p. 257-262 [No. 14]).
  • 5 A. Thierry, Lettres sur 1'Histoire de France, p. 90.
  • 6 Procopius, de Bell. Vandal. I. i. c. 7, p. 194 [torn. I. p. 341, ed. Bonn].

From Hume's History of England, Cadell's edition of 1841 (6 vols. 8vo)

  • 1 Herbert, p. 431, 432.
  • 2 Collier, vol. ii. p. 176.
  • 3 Stowe, p. 575.
  • 4 Burnet, p. 322.
  • 5 34 and 35 Hen. VIII. c. i.
  • 6 Mémoires du Bellay, lib. x.

The comma is not inserted after the period in some places where it would be used in the text.

When citations are made in the text, the abbreviations in copy of ch. for the chapter and p. for the page should not be repeated in type, even when the author has made them in his manuscript copy. Spell out chapter and page. The abbreviations ch., p., and pp. may be used in foot-notes.

In a lower-case text &c. should not be used; etc. is better, but it need not be repeated.

PS. (not P.S.) for postscript, and MS. for manuscript, are still tolerated in capital or small-capital form, but they are more acceptable as spelled-out words.

By-laws are frequently printed with the side-headingsArt. 1 for Article 1, Sec. 2 for Section 2, etc., but it is a better practice to print the word in full in the paragraph where it first appears, and to omit the word in subsequent paragraphs, using the proper figure only, as is customary in verses of the Bible and in hymn-books.

The arabic figures engraved on illustrations as references to their explanations in the small type below the illustration never have No. before them. It is useless to insert No. before the reference figures in the explanation. Figures and letters used as references do not need the abbreviating period.

Abbreviations of honorary titles should not be divided by putting one letter in one line and its mate in the following line. These titles, abbreviated with two or more capitals, as in A.M. or LL.D., do not need intervening spaces, for the space is confusing in a list of many abbreviated titles.

When two or more pages are specified in the text, set them thus: 'pages 141, 142, 158, and not as pp. 141–2, 158, nor as 141–158. When a reference includes numerous pages, set thus: pages 141 to 150. Compactness is desirable in references, but abbreviations should not be indefinite or misleading.

When a period of time is expressed by the dates of two consecutive years, set them thus: 1895–6. When there is a lapse of a year or more, give each date in full, as: 1895, 1897, 1899. The apostrophe in such cases as '95, '97, and '99 is common, but it makes an unpleasing abbreviation.

The careful writer who has to abbreviate in his foot-notes the names of books and periodicals, or scientific terms and foreign or little-used words, should prepare an alphabetical list of abbreviations that will prevent him and the compositor from spelling the same word in different ways. As the compositor is required to follow his copy, he must abbreviate as the writer has done, even when the abbreviations are not always consistent.

  1. Chevillier (l'Origine de l'imprimerie de Paris, etc., p. 111, 4to, Paris, 1595) specifies an edition of the Logic of Ockham, printed in that city in 1488, in which he found this mysterious statement. He says it was selected at hazard: Sic hix e fal sm qd ad simplr a e pducibile a Deo g a e & silr hic a n e g a n e pducibile a Deo. These are the abbreviations for Sicut hie est fallacia secundum quid ad simpliciter. A est producibile à Deo. Ergo A est. Et similiter hic. A non est. Ergo Anon est producibile à Deo.
  2. These remarks apply to descriptive writing in the text of a book or magazine, but not at all to foot-notes or narrow columns in which abbreviations are sometimes obligatory.
  3. The letters are also used as signs or symbols in text-books of sciences to refer to many different things. In music and geometry, roman capital letters are preferred; in algebra, lower-case italic letters; in astronomy, lower-case Greek characters; in -chemistry, capitals, figures, and lower-case combined.
  4. Some publishers and authors require that they shall appear in a standard book as R. Hoe and Company and New York and Harlem Railroad Company. It is, however, impossible here to draw a line of distinction between the ordinary and the standard book. The compositor should follow his copy.
  5. The cataloguer at times puts the compositor to shame. In an English catalogue appears this entry of Talfourd's Ion:

    Talfourd. One on, a Tragedy.

    The reader may here recollect Saxe's ignoramus, who read title of a celebrated picture as Jupiter and 10. To him the 10 was quite a plausible reading of the Io who was one of Jupiter's numerous loves. I have seen Jupiter and lo rendered in print the as Jupiter and Jo.

  6. An apparently full list, yet incomplete, is given in Savage's Dictionary of the Art of Printing (8vo, London, 1841), under the subheading of Records. A much more complete list of the Latin abbreviations, amounting to more than thirteen thousand words, has been made by Adriano Capelli in his Dizionario di Abbreviature Latine ed Italiane (16mo, Milan, 1899).
  7. This rule should not be applied to the figures that specify verses in the Bible or in hymn-books, which are not followed by a period. Nor can it be applied to the signs ¶ and § and which are sometimes used before figures to indicate paragraphs and sections. Exception also may be made for the figures that begin the short sentences under an illustration and that explain corresponding figures in that illustration, but abbreviations like Fig. 1 or E.g. at the beginning of a foot-note are unsightly: Figure 1 and Exempli gratia are acceptable. The improper use of abbreviations and arabic figuresfor words is more fully set forth in the chapter on Figures and Numerals. The exhibit of its absurdity here appended is taken from a letter to the Evening Post of New York City, in which the writer properly burlesques the carelessness of some compositors and proof-readers,

    ½ a lea., ½ a lea.,
    ½ a lea. onward
    All in the valley of death

    Rode the 600.