if and only if (shortened iff) is a biconditional logical connective between statements. Is it proper to use iff to denote if and only if in academic writing (papers)?

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    Welcome to EL&U. You may find the answer to this question in Is “iff” considered a real word or just an abbreviation?; if (but not only if) you do not, I would encourage you to edit the post to explain why, so that this question does not get reported as a duplicate. Note that while iff might be widely used among academicians in philosophy or mathematics, I would suspect it to be less so among their counterparts in, say, dramaturgy or ethnomusicology; in other words, "academic writing" may be too broad to provide a definitive answer. – choster Jan 31 '18 at 21:53

The answer will vary from journal to journal. I suggest you browse those journals you respect most and imitate them. Broadly speaking, yes, as an abbreviation many journals will allow abbreviations if they are used over and over again; in such cases, the purpose is to ease the burden of readers.


If you're using it within a logical expression, then yes. If you're using it as an abbreviation in standard prose, then no.

  • (1+) I have up-voted your answer on the condition (if and only if) that you add a citation to prove that this is not just your own opinion. – Nigel J Jan 31 '18 at 21:35
  • Whereas I've downvoted. Absolute statements such as these are almost never true. – David Richerby Jan 31 '18 at 23:46

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