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What are the rules for putting a full stop after an abbreviation.

For instance, I want to say the following on my business card.

Tel: xxx-xxx-xxx

Do I need to put a full stop after the Tel?

Tel.: xxx-xxx-xxx

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

On a business card, Tel: should be abundantly clear without the need for a [BrE. full stop | AmE. period]. The overriding concern is clarity. If an abbreviation could be mistaken for a word, include it; otherwise, you can probably remove it.

The trend has been to simplify. As a matter of rule, measurement units are bare (except inches which is always in. so as not to be confused with the word in). So too are Canadian and U.S. postal abbreviations. Most style books and corporate identity guides prefer the bare form for acronyms as well: it is NATO or Nato and no longer N.A.T.O., IBM no longer I.B.M. And in Britain, Saint is commonly St now, although universally St. in the U.S.

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The full-stop is necessary to make it clear that it is an abbreviation for 'telephone'.

In your example, as you already have a colon, the full-stop may be dispensed with, without ambiguity. In all other cases, it is necessary.

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On the principle of the less punctuation the better, no. Alternatively, you could put 'Telephone' in full, or insert an appropriate image.

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