If you are abbreviating a word in a document, and that same word shows up in a citation that is NOT a quote, should/can you abbreviate it? My thought is yes. Does it matter if it is a quote?

  • Welcome to ELU. I think this might come down to individual style, and therefore be opinion-based and off topic. I hope I’m wrong because it is an interesting question. Personally, I would opt for accuracy over brevity. So, if the quote used the full term, I would use the full term in the quote, but abbreviate in my own words. Is there a reason (word limit?) why you would opt for brevity over word for word accuracy? – Pam Mar 15 at 20:41
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    I think examples of the sort of thing you're asking about would help here. – Andrew Leach Mar 15 at 21:38

If the citation is not a quote, then it's your own words (you're paraphrasing), so you can do whatever you like. Making it consistent with the rest of your writing seems appropriate.

If the citation is a quote, you normally report it verbatim. However, minor elisions and edits can be made, so long as you put them in [...]. So if the quote used a verbose phrase, which you've been abbreviating, I think it would be acceptable to replace it with [abbreviation].

If this is a scholarly article being submitted to a journal, you would do best to ask the journal editors what their preferred style is.

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