Abbreviations: Plurals and Punctuation

December 22nd, 2022 in Grammar by April Michelle Davis 0

Abbreviations can be pluralized simply by adding an –s. Publications commonly use an apostrophe to form the plural, but the apostrophe is not necessary. Sometimes the -s at the end of the abbreviation does not match the placement of the -s in the written-out word or phrase. For example, “RBIs” stands for “runs batted in” (and not “run batted ins”).

Some singular abbreviations include a period, and this period affects the plural form of the abbreviation. These rare occurrences do not use an -s. The word page is abbreviated “p.”, and the plural pages is abbreviated “pp.” Likewise, the plural form of species is abbreviated “spp.”, which is “sp.” when singular.

When an abbreviation that includes a period comes at the end of a sentence, the period that ends the abbreviation is also the ending punctuation of the sentence. For example, if the phrase “Apple, Inc.” is used at the end of a sentence, it would not be written “Apple, Inc..” The correct form would be to use only one period. The only instance in which two punctuation marks would appear back-to-back at the end of a sentence would be if the sentence ending with the abbreviation was a question or exclamation. This would be the correct form: “Inc.!” or “Inc.?”

Try It!

Form the plurals of these abbreviations.

  1. CD
    2. CDO
    3. FAQ
    4. exam
    5. vol.


  2. CDs (compact discs)
    2. CDOs (collateralized debt obligations)
    3. FAQs (frequently asked questions)
    4. exams (examinations)
    5. vols. (volumes)