MLA Abbreviations

One should understand that there are some similar patterns that are used in abbreviating sources in MLA. In order to get a wide picture and relevant information about the common abbreviation used one is advised to visit section 1.6 in the MLA Handbook (8th ed.).

Uppercase letter abbreviations

A writer should not consider using periods or space in abbreviation that are composed of capital letters except if it is a proper name.


  1. P. Austen, B. R. R. Miller, G.D. White

If a name is composed only of initials then no periods and space are used.


Lowercase letter abbreviations.

It is a recommendation that one adds a period after an abbreviation that ends in a lowercase letter. In the case of an internet suffix employ the period before the abbreviation:

Vol., assn., Eng.,

.co, .ke, .gov these are URL suffixes

Degrees do not apply the lowercase abbreviation rule.

PsyD, PhD, EdD

There are letters that are abbreviated but each represents a word, for these set of words use a period between the letters.

p.m., a.m., i.e.

Other notable exceptions are:

km, mph, os, rpm, ns, lb

Abbreviations in citations

Abbreviation in citations are basically used to shorten them well known as condensing.

Time Designations

It is paramount to understand the pattern that is used in abbreviating the time and location while citing. Usually, one is supposed to abbreviate a month that has more than four letters:

Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec.

Geographic Names

It is a recommendation for one to use geographical names of states and countries and abbreviate the name of country, province, and state.

Johannesburg, SA; Manchester, Eng.; Logan, UT

Scholarly Abbreviations

A writer should always take note on the following abbreviations and make sure they appear that away:

  • for anonymous
  • C, or ca. for circa
  • For chapter
  • for department
  • For edition
  • al. for multiple names
  • for foreword
  • For journal
  • For library
  • for number
  • P for Press commonly used for academic presses
  • for page, pp. for pages
  • for paragraph in case page number are not available.
  • in for quoted in
  • for revised
  • or sect. for section
  • for series
  • Translation
  • U for University
  • UP for University Press
  • for variant
  • for volume

Publisher Names

Ensure that the publisher’s names are listed in full as they are presented in the title or copyright pages. Example of a fully named publisher is London Publishers

There are other exceptions thou:

  • Do not include articles and business abbreviations. (Co., Ltd., Inc.).
  • It is right to use a publishers acronym when the company is more familiar through abbreviations e.g. ERIC, GPO, MLA. If the company is not familiar with an abbreviation, ensure it appears in full.
  • The letter U and P are the ones recommended when referring to University Presses; e.g Chicago P or Cambridge UP

To gain more knowledge in scholarly abbreviation consult section 1.6. 3 of the MLA Handbook (8th Ed.). Other examples include:

U of Illinois P

Arizona UP

Massachusetts Medical College P

Boston P

Vintage Books