I cannot decide whether to add -s after words like "No.", "Fig." etc. For example, in my paper, usually I need to express:

"Fig. 1, 2 and 3 are illustrations of xxx", "This figure shows the results of frame No. 1, 2, 3 in our video"...

As you can see, there are multiple numbers after the words like "Fig.", "No.". In my option, words like "Fig." or "No." never have plural. But someone said they have. I have confused. Which one is correct?

  • Surely you should always write them out in full, a situation under which the previous quandary evaporates. – tchrist Jun 1 '14 at 12:25
  • @tchrist. Thanks for the advice. While I do need to use the abbreviations of words like Figure, Table, Number, Equation, etc. When I use the abbreviations like Fig. Tab. No. Eq., do I need to add -s if they are followed by multiple objects? – janelove Jun 1 '14 at 12:29
  • I cannot see where you would have to use abbreviations except perhaps as captions. Most of those look poor and make things hard to read. I’ve read thousands of highly technical refereed research papers, and while things like Fig. are common there, as in (see Fig. 23), when speaking of several of them, it should be in Figures 1, 4, and 7–9. – tchrist Jun 1 '14 at 13:36

The abbreviations nos. and figs. are the correct plural forms, and are preferred.

The Chicago Manual of Style states the following rule:

For most abbreviations, add s or es for plural forms, unless otherwise stated.

Nevertheless, most scholarly Latin abbreviations have irregular plurals usually formed by doubling a letter, such as pp. as plural of p. (page) and qq.v. as plural of q.v. (quod vide). Consequently, if you are using any additional abbreviations, look for proper pluralization.

(NB: The CMOS shows no. and fig. with an initial minuscule letter. Consult your preferred style guide to determine correct capitalization.)

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