[Taxacom] Best usage - spp (no period) or spp.?

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Wed Oct 10 14:42:52 CDT 2012

Though I think the matter is trivial (and pointless!), there does seem to be some confusion here still:
Abbreviations are contrasted with acronyms for *multiword* names, e.g.

abbreviation U.S.A.

acronym NASA

abbreviations use "periods", acronyms don't.

That much is clear. But when we apply it to single words, things get 
trickier. There is no such thing as a single word acronym. Instead 
abbreviations are contrasted with contractions, e.g. 

abbreviation St., for street [the 't' in 'St.' is the first 't' in 'street']
contraction St, for saint

some people are claiming that abbreviations use "periods", contractions don't

cf is not straightforwardly either an abbreviation or a contraction!

S. [abbreviation for Stephen]

 From: "Boyle, Bradley L - (bboyle)" <bboyle at email.arizona.edu>
To: "<taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> 
Sent: Thursday, 11 October 2012 8:18 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Best usage - spp (no period) or spp.?
Hi Tony,

"cf." is an abbreviation for "confer" and therefore takes a period. See: W.T. Stern, Botanical Latin (Chap. XXVI, "Symbols and Abbreviations").

Unless of course your editorial policy and/or particular flavo(u)r of English allows abbreviations without periods....


On Oct 10, 2012, at 10:00 AM, <taxacom-request at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
<taxacom-request at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

> Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2012 11:18:48 +1100
> From: <Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Best usage - spp (no period) or spp.?
> To: <sean.r.edwards at btinternet.com>, <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Message-ID:
>     <C2994967ABB5D54BB013821E4ABA60E105E6C908B2 at exvic-mbx03.nexus.csiro.au>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Thanks to all who responded on this interesting (?) thread. These responses have been summarised to the responsible CAAB editors who have agreed to standardise on "spp." for this purpose. The power of the taxacom list is thus once again demonstrated to all.
> Still awaiting significant deliberations regarding a potential change from "cf" to "cf.", however...
> Regards - Tony


Brad Boyle, Ph.D.
Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Arizona
BSW 310, P.O. Box 210088
Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
bboyle at email.arizona.edu

Botanical Information & Ecology Network:

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