I'm quite confused about the use of abbreviations and full stops and I also have an additional question.

According to Oxford A-Z Grammar and Punctuation, if the abbreviation consists of the first part of the word, then you use a full stop:


1) Then how comes I always see exam isn't written as "exam."?

2)Silly as this seems, if I were write the sentence "On Wed.", would it require another full stop at then end?

  • 2
    Your second question is addressed in Is it correct to use two consecutive dots indicating an abbreviation and a full stop?—which is itself marked as a duplicate of an earlier (and very similar) question.
    – Sven Yargs
    Aug 23 '16 at 19:59
  • 1
    exam is a full-blooded word. It might have started as an abbreviation of examination, but it has taken on a life of its own. You might still call it an abbreviation, though, in a looser sense. It's just like congratulations gave birth to congrats and automobile to auto.
    – DyingIsFun
    Aug 23 '16 at 20:10

Shortened words\phrases or abbreviations may be used so often that they become independent words, often termed truncation or clipping. Sometimes the original word is even forgotten. This also happens with acronyms (perhaps more recent trend?).

When did "phone" become accepted as its own word? is a great discussion of how\when phone became the word of choice, and has some other examples.

The History of English website scrapes the surface a little bit more by compiling a list of words that have come about via this method (some may surprise): gym, lab, bus, van, vet, fridge, bra, wig, curio, pram, taxi, rifle, canter, phone, burger, mob, goodbye, hello, daisy, shepherd, load, fortnight, laser, radar, quasar, scuba

Unfortunately for an English learner, it is indeed just another complexity to deal with. Just one of the complications caused by a language being living!

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