Abbreviations

Q. Hi, can you tell me what “pl.” stands for in “vol. 5 (1822), pl. 57”? Thanks!

Q. I’m wondering about omitting the periods for US Department of Energy. On its site, it’s U.S. Do we follow the department’s preference or Chicago style?

Q. What is the proper way to write Dr. Tom Smith Jr., M.D.?

Q. Will you provide examples of what is considered “humanistic” versus “scientific or statistical” when addressing the use of the symbol % or the word percent

Q. I just read your explanation of the use of Ms with a period as a shortened combination of Miss and Mrs. Boy are you wrong. Please read the feminist history and arguments of the early 1970s.

Q. Hello. A term you used in your hyphenation table is slightly incorrect, I believe. You call the units of measurement (m, kg, ft.) “abbreviations.” (I assume that things like MB and GHz also fall into this category?) According to Merriam-Webster, an abbreviation is “a shortened form of a written word or phrase used in place of the whole word or phrase. ‘Amt’ is an abbreviation for ‘amount.’ ‘USA’ is an abbreviation of ‘United States of America.’” That has nothing to do with the examples in the table.

Q. Greetings! When using a slash in the abbreviation w/ should there be a space after it or not? E.g., Fluffy went down the street w/Cookie? or Smoochie went to the store w/ Pookie?

Q. I’m proofreading a manuscript in which US is abbreviated without periods throughout. But when it’s part of a compound, periods are added. (“The U.S.-ratified agreement,” or “U.S.-friendly leaders,” for example.) My impulse is to change it, but it appears so regularly that it seems to have been done this way on purpose. (There are 35 instances over 400 pages of text.) Is there ever a reason to use periods in some instances but not others, when you’re abbreviating “United States”?

Q. I frequently use the acronym GAAP, which stands for generally accepted accounting principles. Would the acronym be considered a collective noun? Would I treat GAAP as a singular subject when using the acronym but as a plural subject when spelling it out? What if I do both (spell it out and then put the acronym in parentheses)?

Q. When, if ever, is it acceptable to use the abbreviation for To Whom It May Concern (TWIMC) in a letter?