Abbreviations in MLA Style
Abbreviations are common in the list of works cited and in-text citations, although less common in the text of your writing.
The MLA Handbook (8th ed.) offers guidance on the use of abbreviations in your academic writing:
- Write an abbreviation in full the first time you use it, with the abbreviation in brackets next to the full name.
- Do not use full stops or spaces between letters in an abbreviation that is made up of primarily of capital letters (e.g. PhD, US, DVD, FBI).
- Place a full stop and a space between each initial in a person's name that includes a full surname (e.g. J. K. Rowling).
- Do not use full stops or spaces between names that are entirely made up of initials (e.g. JFK).
- Do not put a space after a full stop in abbreviations that are made up of lowercase letters, where each letter represents a word (e.g. a.m., i.e.).
- The names of months that are longer than four letters are abbreviated as follows: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.
Common academic abbreviations
The following abbreviations are recommended for use in the works cited list and in-text citations. The plural form is made through the addition of s (e.g. chs.)
|et al.||and others|
|P||Press (used to describe an academic press e.g. Oxford P)|
|p., pp.||page, pages|
|qtd. in||quoted in|
|U||University (also French Université, German Universität, Italian Università, Spanish Universidad).|
References and further reading
MLA Handbook. 8th ed., Modern Language Association, 2016. [Massey Library link]
The MLA Style Centre. Modern Language Association, 2018, https://style.mla.org/.
These pages are provided as a guide to proper referencing. Your course, department, school, or institute may prescribe specific conventions, and their recommendations supersede these instructions. If you have questions not covered here, check in the style guide listed above, ask your course coordinator, or ask at Academic Q+A.