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What are the rules for putting a full stop after a fax abbreviation? Sometimes I see:

Tel.: xxx-xxx-xxx
Fax.: xxx-xxx-xxx

Is "fax" here an abbreviation?

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4  
Sloppy people are sloppy...... I see periods in a great many places where none belong........ –  RegDwigнt Sep 19 '12 at 22:08
1  
@ЯegDwight And, commas, as well! –  bib Sep 19 '12 at 22:29
10  
Why does everyone keep editing to add the extra x into the question? Phone numbers in the US and Canada are of the form xxx-xxx-xxxx, but every country has different numbering plans. –  Mark Beadles Sep 19 '12 at 22:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is no need for a period. Fax is no longer an abbreviation, but a word in its own right.

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'Fax' is an abbreviation of 'facsimile'; though the full form is far more uncommon than say 'Telephone'

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I agree with both Alok and Barrie England in part, but suggest that the term fax was never an abbreviation requiring a period (at least in US), but a short form term.

Consider doctor. The abbreviation in US is Dr. (with a period). But there is a short form, somewhat informal, of doc, or more frequently, Doc without a period.

Similarly, the titles of certain religious figures are Brother and Sister. The abbreviations are respectively Br. and Sr. However, the short form for those terms are Bro and Sis (although such short forms would rarely be used in addressing those religious types).

The term telephone also illustrates the point. The accepted abbreviation is tel. or Tel., but there is a short form, phone that never takes a period.

While I have not done any analysis, a brief rumination leads me to the view that abbreviations almost always consist of letters that exist within the word that they represent. Obviously, there is no x in facsimile.

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Re phone, note the conversation in the comments here. –  Mark Hurd Sep 20 '12 at 0:53
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@MarkHurd Nice point. I think we come to these short forms in a number of ways, and there are often intermediate forms, spellings or punctuations. –  bib Sep 20 '12 at 1:09
    
Yeah, I think if there had been an abbreviation, it would have been fac or facs (with trailing period in the U.S.). Note that sox (as in American baseball's Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox) is just a (slightly!) shorter word for socks and of course never takes a period. –  John Y Sep 27 '12 at 20:06

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