You may use abbreviations in your Works Cited list but when you are writing your paper, you should always spell out the words. Instead of using abbreviations such as etc., i.e. and e.g., write them out. For example, instead of using e.g., write out “for example”. When you use acronyms in your paper, write them out first then put the acronym in parentheses. You may then use the acronym throughout your paper. However, if it’s a commonly known acronym such as FBI, CIA or IRS, you do not need to spell it out first.
MLA Abbreviating Guidelines
As you create your Works Cited list, you may use abbreviations as follows:
- If the abbreviation ends in a lower-case letter, use a period after it. For example, p., pp. or vol.
- Use two letter postal codes for U.S. states and Canadian provinces. For example, use CA for California and BC for British Columbia.
- Use a period and a single space after each letter when using initials in a name. For example, T.S. Elliott. However, if you are using a well-known name such as JFK or MLK, you do not need to use periods.
- If an abbreviation is made up of all capital letters, do not use periods.
Abbreviating Months in MLA Works Cited
In your Works-Cited list, you should abbreviate any months that are longer than four letters followed by a period. Use these month abbreviations:
Abbreviating Publishers’ Names
In the Works Cited list, you should omit words or abbreviations that indicate the type of business organization. For example, omit the words company, corporation, incorporated, limited as well as their abbreviations Co., Corp., Inc.., Ltd. etc.
Write out the publisher’s name if full; however, If the academic press uses University Press in its name, replace it with the initials UP.
If the name of the academic press is separated such as University of New Mexico Press, list it as U of New Mexico P.
Do not place a period or space between the letters in an acronym.
Do not include an apostrophe when you’re using the plural form of the acronym. For example, DVDs or CDs.
If you follow these rules, it is easy to use abbreviations and acronyms in MLA style. Although you should use abbreviations in your MLA Works Cited list, never use them in the text of your paper.