Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Should I put spaces after periods in the following examples?

  • A.B. Buffington (between the initials)
  • Vol.2, No.6, pp.195-200

I see people missing spaces in their academic writing all the time and I am not sure if I should correct this.

share|improve this question
2  
By the way, is there an explanation why there is also no space in "e.g." and "i.e."? –  Dmitry Chornyi Dec 17 '11 at 23:36
1  
e.g. is short for the phrase "exempli gratia", therefore the abbreviation goes together in one unit of text, and the full-stops indicate where letters have been excised from each word in the abbreviated phrase. If "e." were a common abbreviation for the single word "exempli" and "g." were a common abbreviation for "gratia" then we would write "e. g.". The space implies that "e." and "g." are separate units, standing for "exempli" and "gratis" by themselves. But that is not the case. "e." all alone does not carry the meaning "exempli". –  Marcel Turing Mar 6 at 7:28
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I commiserate with the desire to avoid a cramped, less readable look.

The citation service that I use, CiteULike, gives a choice of six commonly used citation styles. None show spaces between abbreviated first and middle initials. Otherwise, yes, I think I would add spaces to your remaining examples. So to answer your question, this is what I would do:

A.B. Buffington

and

Vol. 2, No. 6, pp. 195-200

share|improve this answer
    
I wonder if there is any rule of grammar, why they don't put a space between abbreviated first and middle initials. Is this really just a matter of taste? –  Dmitry Chornyi Dec 22 '11 at 0:23
    
dima I don't know, I checked the OWL link provided by @Gnawme, but couldn't find any specifics about spacing rationale. –  Feral Oink Dec 28 '11 at 20:21
add comment

Your examples look unnecessarily compact (if not cramped) to me. I would correct them to:

  • A. B. Buffington
  • Vol. 2, pp. 195-200

If you look at this handy chart of the major citation styles (MLA, APA, and CMS), none of them advocate such a cramped format.

I haven't found a reference for why e.g. and i.e. are conventionally written without spaces. I'll edit my answer if I do...

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.