I need to put one of the above on one of my app's buttons.

Bonus question - does the same rule hold in plural? That is if I write "1 yr.", do I write "15 yrs." as well?

  • 2
    Is your button really so small you can't afford the two extra characters of the full word?
    – Ed Guiness
    May 6, 2011 at 9:51
  • 1
    @Ed - good point. it's a mobile app, so the space is extremely precious.
    – kolinko
    May 6, 2011 at 16:59

5 Answers 5


As reported by the Oxford Living Dictionaries (and similarly by the copy of the New Oxford American English that was installed on my Mac Mini) yr. is an English abbreviation, but it could be both the abbreviation of year or years, while yrs. is the abbreviation for years or yours. In this case, you could use 1 yr., 2 yr. and the abbreviation would always be correct.

As reported from the Oxford Dictionary of English, it's the same in British English, except the abbreviation is written without a period at the end (e.g. yr instead of yr.).

As the other answers says, there should be a space between the number and yr./yrs..


As far as I know, the rules for spacing or not spacing between values and units is that there should always be a spacing between the value and the unit ("1 %" is incorrect, since percent is not a unit, but a fraction). Hence, "1yr" is incorrect, since "year" is a unit.

I'd write "1 yr", "15 yrs" if I really needed the space. In all other cases I'd prefer "1 year", "15 years", since "yr" doesn't look that good in text, in my opinion.


It depends a lot on context.

In geology yr is the recognised symbol for years, when talking about absolute age.

Although there has been some controversy recently. See this New Scientist article: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20423-push-to-define-year-sparks-time-war.html


I'd say there's no correct one, but 1 yr. (or 2 yrs.) come closest, based on convention.

  • I'll go with "1 yr", without a dot (as it is a recognised symbol, at least in geology :)
    – kolinko
    May 6, 2011 at 11:07

The problem I run into with "1 yr" is in wrapping text, the "1" and "yr" can end up on separate lines. It also looks odd in context. "the 1 yr return was 5%". Vs "the 1yr return was 5%".

Plus spell-check goes after "yr" as an error. I don't want to add "yr" as a word in my dictionary.

So I go against convention and vote for "1yr". No space.

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