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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.

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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
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 '14 at 7:28
up vote 3 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


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

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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. – Ellie Kesselman Dec 28 '11 at 20:21

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...

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