I find people using "para" for "paragraph" and "paras" for "paragraphs", even in formal English.

See the example sentence:

In para 2 of the plaint, the plaintiff has stated that he is entitled to "x".

Have "para" and "paras" come of age and gained recognition in formal English. Can I write "para" and "paras" in a formal writing?

  • 1
    Don't tell the British Parachute Regiment! Officially and unofficially they are The Paras.
    – WS2
    Dec 23, 2015 at 17:54
  • 1
    No references here beyond personal interactions, but I see this a lot with (American) lawyers and their contracts. If they need updates, they'll refer to the numbered paragraphs as para/s.
    – VampDuc
    Dec 23, 2015 at 18:51
  • 2
    Depending on the context, sometimes people refer to paragraph elements (xml or html), and sometimes those elements are named "para", not "paragraph". It is also the case that sometimes people abbreviate to "para" in email messages and other informal settings, especially when the term is repeated over and over. I would expect that "para" (as an abbreviation for "paragraph") is used much more in written English than in spoken English.
    – Drew
    Dec 24, 2015 at 2:08
  • It may be valid jargon (legal or otherwise), but it's not "formal" in the formal sense.
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 24, 2015 at 2:28
  • 1
    It looks far better. +1)
    – user140086
    Dec 24, 2015 at 7:39

1 Answer 1


In written English, especially formal, I would still use paragraph, although "para" has increased in use. Having a neurology background, where "paraplegia" and "paraparesis" are common terms, I still use "paragraph" exclusively. The language is evolving, and para will become more and more mainstream.

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