Abbreviations (Names and Titles)

Use sparingly. If an abbreviation will be used, always use the full name or title the first time, followed by the abbreviation in brackets/parentheses.

e.g., Japan Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA)

1. Given names. Do not use abbreviations unless the person himself wrote his name in that fashion.

2. Civil or military titles. Spell out with the surname alone.

e.g., General Eisenhower

However, if you use the person’s full name and title you may abbreviate the title.

e.g., Sen. Bill Frist

3. Initials of given names. The trend is towards reduced punctuation. Unspaced, unpunctuated initials

e.g., JRR Tolkien.

4. Countries, states, territories, months, and days of the week.

In text, always spell out in full.

5. Mr./Mr, Mrs./Mrs, Ms./Ms, and Dr./Dr.

Always use the standard abbreviation for the form of English being used.

6. WWI, WWII (AmE); WW1, WW2 (BrE)

(Americans tend refer to these two wars as World War I and World War II, although the expressions the First World War and the Second World War are also used. Commonwealth nations more commonly refer to these as the First World War and the Second World War.)

Abbreviations (Period/full stop punctuation)

  1. Never punctuated:

Abbreviations composed of all capital letters, e.g., DVD, SF, UFO, CPR, GATT, UK

• SI units, e.g., kg, cm

Compass points. e.g., NW, SE, NSW, etc.

Chemical symbols

Symbols for currencies, e.g., A$, S$, US$

2. May or may not be punctuated (The trend globally is toward fewer periods/full stops, but much variation exists. Japan Harvest style currently is as follows.)

• US style. Abbreviations and contractions with any lower case letters in them are always punctuated:

e.g. Mr.  Mrs.  Dr.  Rev.  incl.   a.s.a.p.

• British style. Abbreviations normally require full stops. Contractions do not.

e.g. Mr  Mrs  Dr

e.g. Rev.  incl.  a.s.a.p.

3. Note: Abbreviations at the end of a sentence need no further punctuation.

e.g. Remember to acknowledge all contributors—the producer, director, writer, cameramen, etc.

Abbreviations (Scripture References)

1. In text, spell out references to whole books or whole chapters of the Bible.

e. g. The opening chapters of Ephesians . . .  Genesis records the creation of the world in the first two chapters.

2. Biblical references may be abbreviated when enclosed in parentheses/brackets. (Refer to Goss and Goss for actual abbreviations.)

3. Use Arabic numerals for all references. If the reference begins a sentence, however, spell out the number.

e.g.  . . . in 1 John . . .

First John 3:16 says . . .

Abbreviations (Scripture Versions)

1. Scripture references should always include a Scripture version in the first reference in the article. It may be omitted in further references if all the references come from the same version. If they differ, then each Scripture reference must include the Scripture version.

2. Abbreviate the version of Scripture in references. (See Goss and Goss for standard abbreviations.)

3. The abbreviation for verse is v. and for verses, vv.


An apostrophe is used:

a.    To show possession

Following a noun: an apostrophe plus an s.

e.g. The book’s cover.

But—following a noun that ends in s: an apostrophe only.

e.g. The puppies’ tails.

Exception—personal names that end in s add an apostrophe and an s.
(But—Japan Harvest adds only an apostrophe to the names Jesus and Moses.)

e.g. Jones’s; Keats’s; Jesus’; Moses’

Note: Possessive pronouns—including “its”—already show belonging, so do not need an apostrophe. (“Its”—it is—indicates omission.)

b.     To show omission

e.g. the ’70s, don’t, can’t, I’ll, it’s.

c.     To form a plural with lowercase letters (but not numerals or uppercase letters)

e.g. x’s and y’s, but 3s and PhDs. 

d.     (Rarely) In a proper geographic name

e.g. Pikes Peak, but Martha’s Vineyard. 

With only a few exceptions in the US and Australia, “apostrophes suggesting possession or association are not to be used within the body of a proper geographic name”¹. Perhaps more commonly used in Canada and Britain, the apostrophe usage debate continues to rage. Check an official map or article for proper spelling.

¹Principles, Policies, and Procedures for Domestic Geographic Names, p. 41