Common Word Abbreviations

dentist working on a dental patientD.D.S = Doctor of Dental Surgery

This list of word abbreviations contains some of the most commonly used shortcuts in the English language. Take special note of which ones are, and are not capitalized. Also note that some do not use periods.

You'll find a printable list of all the items at the bottom of the page. 


calendar page

When writing about a month, usually it is necessary to spell out the entire word. For example, it is correct to write, I am going to visit my grandmother in September. It is not correct to write,  I am going to visit my grandmother in Sept. 

Note: There is  a trend toward using even shorter abbreviations: Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa. However, the ones listed above are standard.

  • B.C. is always written after the year:  67 B.C.
  • A.D. is always written before the year: A.D. 1296
  • Note that A.M. and P.M. can be spelled correctly with either upper or lower case letters. 


two pairs of feet standing on a sign that reads 1 MILE - 5280 Ft.

Note that shortened forms of metric measurement labels do not use periods. Technically, these labels, such as mm, g, and cc are symbols, not abbreviations. 

If you're looking for abbreviations for every state in the U.S., check out this U.S. Postal Service link. This printable resource includes information about how the abbreviations have changed over the years. 

Word Abbreviations for Titles

Sen. John Glenn

Examples:  Dr. Arlene Smith,  Rev. Kevin Reed,  Pres. George Washington

Use the abbreviations only with a proper name. Otherwise, spell out the word. For example, do not write, "I am going to see my Dr."  Instead, write, "I am going to see my doctor."

Abbreviations for academic degrees -- Ph.D., M.A., B.A., and so on -- may be used without a proper name. For example, it's okay to write, "It took Mary just three years to earn her Ph.D."

Examples:  Arlene Smith, M.D.,  Robert Jones, Ed. D.,  Peggy Miller, B.A.  Timothy Stuart, Sr.

Latin Abbreviations

The abbreviation, etc., is frequently misspelled. Be sure to always put the T before the C. If you have a hard time remembering the correct spelling, try this mnemonic device:  ETC = Eternally Training Cats.  :) 

Here's the printable list of all the abbreviations list above.

More Spelling Lessons

You may also be interested in these spelling resources: 

List of Suffixes - We've compiled a long list of the most commonly-used suffixes. We've also include the meaning and 10 example words for each suffix.

the number ten

Spelling Strategies - Students who master these ten spelling rules/strategies are sure to become better spellers! We clearly state the "rule" and provide examples of words spelled correctly when following the rule.

Troublesome Homonyms Explained, Part 1:  Improve spelling skills by choosing the correct homonym. Definitions and examples included for homonyms beginning with A - P.   Find Part  2  here.  I've included a big, free printable list of all of these important words. 

> Word Abbreviations