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Should I put spaces after periods in the following examples?

  • A.B. Buffington (between the initials)
  • Vol.2, No.6, pp.195-200

I see people missing spaces in their academic writing all the time and I am not sure if I should correct this.

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    By the way, is there an explanation why there is also no space in "e.g." and "i.e."? Commented Dec 17, 2011 at 23:36
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    e.g. is short for the phrase "exempli gratia", therefore the abbreviation goes together in one unit of text, and the full-stops indicate where letters have been excised from each word in the abbreviated phrase. If "e." were a common abbreviation for the single word "exempli" and "g." were a common abbreviation for "gratia" then we would write "e. g.". The space implies that "e." and "g." are separate units, standing for "exempli" and "gratis" by themselves. But that is not the case. "e." all alone does not carry the meaning "exempli". Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 7:28
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    You don't have to write e. g. without a space. In LaTeX I use e.\,g., which gives a thin space.
    – Toothrot
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 19:07

3 Answers 3

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I commiserate with the desire to avoid a cramped, less readable look.

The citation service that I use, Mendeley, gives a choice of four commonly used citation styles. Three have spaces between abbreviated first and middle initials. Otherwise, yes, I think I would add spaces to your remaining examples. So to answer your question, this is what I would do:

A.B. Buffington

and

Vol. 2, No. 6, pp. 195-200

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  • I wonder if there is any rule of grammar, why they don't put a space between abbreviated first and middle initials. Is this really just a matter of taste? Commented Dec 22, 2011 at 0:23
  • dima I don't know, I checked the OWL link provided by @Gnawme, but couldn't find any specifics about spacing rationale. Commented Dec 28, 2011 at 20:21
  • Hello, Ellie. Your link seems to have evolved somewhat. Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 16:07
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    Hello, Dmitry, if you're still around. Grammar and punctuation are seen as being totally distinct (though of course a comma can give a different meaning to a sentence). In other words, here, we're looking for 'rules of punctuation' only. And there are different styles in use, showing that there's no inviolable diktat. (Though your prof or editor may try to impose one, and they do have a say in your future.) I have found a style guide endorsing the suppression of full stops where clarity isn't compromised (this is quite normal in the UK). So A B Buffington / Vol 2, No 6, pp 195-200. Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 16:14
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    @EdwinAshworth sadly, yes. CiteULike was a Springer Verlag initiative that became defunct in 2020, I believe. I will edit accordingly. Thank you for the reminder!!! Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 6:03
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Your examples look unnecessarily compact (if not cramped) to me. I would correct them to:

  • A. B. Buffington
  • Vol. 2, pp. 195-200

If you look via this handy resource allowing access to the major citation styles (MLA, APA, and CMS), none of them advocate such a cramped format.

I haven't found a reference for why e.g. and i.e. are conventionally written without spaces. I'll edit my answer if I do...

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In Spanish, there’s always a space after a period. For example «a. m. or p. m.» However, I haven’t seen that in English nor found the grammatical rule.

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    These (and "i.e." and "e.g.") would look especially ugly if they ended up split across two lines. To avoid that, I'd suggest using a non-breaking space character there. Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 3:37

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