APA Abbreviations

When using APA,  you should limit the use of abbreviation to cases where the abbreviation is standard, and therefore cannot distract the understanding of the reader. Secondly, should be used when you seek to avoid repetition and use of space.

There are a few common trends in abbreviating that you should follow when using APA, though there are always exceptions to these rules. When abbreviating a term, use the full term the first time you use it, followed immediately by the abbreviation in parentheses.

APA style offers few common trends when using abbreviations that should be observed. However, there are cases where the guidelines given can be exempted. When  you abbreviate a certain term, include the full term the first time, and then follow it by its abbreviation in parentheses.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people living in poverty in Africa continues to rise.

Exceptions: This applies to standard abbreviations such  as unit  of measurement and countries  (e.g. USA) are not  required to be written out. In addition, APA permits abbreviations appearing as words to be included without full terminology ( AIDS, IQ).

Do not use periods or spaces in abbreviations of all capital letters, unless it is a proper name or refers to participants using identity-concealing labels:

Avoid using periods or space when writing abbreviation that appear in capital letters,  except when  it’s a proper name or is referring to participants through identity-hidden labels.


  1. D. Harrison, J. R. R. Thomson, E. B. Yorkeor S.W.F.

Exceptions: Include a period when you abbreviate the United States as an adjective (U.S. Senator)

Include a period when the abbreviation is Latin abbreviation or it’s a reference abbreviation:

etc., e.g., p.m. or Vol. 5, p. 15, 6th ed.

Avoid using periods when you abbreviate measurements:

kg, ft, lb, min

Exceptions: Include a period when you abbreviate inch (in.) to prevent confusion.

Only abbreviate units of measurement and statistical abbreviations when they have numerical values:

8 mg, 17 mi, M = 10.5

Measurement taken  in milligrams, a number of miles after the departure, the means were established

Some  units of time are not abbreviated, they include:

day, week, month and year

Abbreviations are in order for:

hr, min, ms, ns, s

To form the plural of abbreviations, add s alone without apostrophe or italicization.

To create a plural of abbreviations,  include (s) alone and should not have apostrophe or italics.

Vols.  Eds.

Exception: You should not add s, to create  to plural units of measurement (10 m not 10ms).

Abbreviations in Citations

You need to condense your citations as much as possible. Therefore,  it is important that you understand the basic guidelines and rules applied in abbreviations supported by the APA style to offer your readers the necessary reference information.

Always understand that first and middle names of writers, editors, etc. are abbreviated.

Warrebn, W., Dagotte, N.

Apply  the following abbreviations in your citations (see the capitalization):

APA Citation Abbreviations
 Book Part  Abbreviation
edition ed.
revised edition Rev. ed.
Second Edition 2nd ed.
Editor(s) Ed. or Eds.
Translator(s) Trans.
No date n.d.
Page(s) p. or pp.
Volume(s) Vol. or Vols.
Number No.
Part Pt.
Technical Report Tech. Rep.
Supplement Suppl.