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Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

I have just bought an Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

This is it's first page showing some abbreviations used in the dictionary.

My question is: why some abbreviations ended with a period (such as: abbr., adj.), but some don't (such as: C, sb, pt)?

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How much does this dictionary in China? Please, write the price in U.S. dollars. – user19148 Jul 22 '12 at 12:30
@Carlo_R. $18.51, 118.00RMB, what's the matter? The pure English version is even cheaper. – Yishu Fang Jul 22 '12 at 12:34
Some are actual abbreviations (prep., n., conj.) and some are acronyms and partial acronyms, which don't require the period (NZE, IndE), and some are simply dictionary conventions (sb, sth, pt, etc.). – Robusto Jul 22 '12 at 12:48
@Robusto Do all the 'actual abbreviations' need periods? – Yishu Fang Jul 22 '12 at 12:53
No, I was curious to know if that was an original version. – user19148 Jul 22 '12 at 12:55
up vote 4 down vote accepted

A close look at how the abbreviations are generated from their full forms should make the answer apparent.

All abbreviations that are created by truncating a (major) part of the word end with a period, while those formed by truncating parts of two words, or two parts, and then combining those, do not end in a dot.

For example, adj. comes from adjective and pl. from plural, but pt is derived from past tense and sth from something.

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This seemed pretty apparent to me too, so I was about to vote to close as General Reference. But the comments and the other answer, whilst not actually saying anything wrong, do tend to confuse the issue with irrelevancies. Which does sorta make it a "question", even though as you say, the presence of a period purely depends on the "abbreviation" being exactly and only the first 1-4 letters of a single-word "full form". – FumbleFingers Jul 23 '12 at 3:10

In this context, the abbreviations without periods are Symbols, whereas those with periods are regular abbreviations.

The 'pattern' for the symbol takes the form of ;

  1. an un-abbreviated/symbolized phrase that has more than one word
  2. at least one of the abbreviated words is represented by more than one letter (e.g. NAmE)
  3. one or more of the words can be un-represented in the symbol (e.g. U )
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