You may use abbreviations and acronyms in your MLA works cited list. However, when you are writing your paper, you should always spell out the words in full. Instead of using abbreviations such as etc., i.e. and e.g., write them out completely. For example, instead of using e.g., write out “for example.”
When you use acronyms in your paper, write them out in full first. Then, you can put the acronym in parentheses. You may then use the acronym throughout the rest of your paper. However, if it’s a commonly known acronym, like FBI, CIA or IRS, you do not need to spell it out first.
MLA Guidelines for Abbreviations
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. Eliot. 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. Examples include CD, DVD, PhD, and US.
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, and limited as well as their abbreviations Co., Corp., Inc.., Ltd., and so on.
Write out the publisher’s name in 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.
Rules for Acronyms
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, you should write the terms as DVDs or CDs.
Shorthand for Better Writing
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 body text of your paper.