An Easy Guide to Common Month Abbreviation

Writing guide
Posted on April 9, 2020

Wondering how to abbreviate months and names of days of the week in note taking and shorthand writing according to APA and MLA? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll find the detailed information on this topic as well as a list of standard English abbreviations for each month that can be used in official and business documents, lists, and tables. You can also see such abbreviations in newspaper titles and headlines where space is a concern. Keep reading to learn about the month acronym. The article also covers the abbreviation for months of the year.

What Words Are Called Abbreviations?

Before we start speaking about month abbreviations, let’s discuss what the abbreviation actually is. Let’s start with a short definition of this popular term.
Abbreviation is a general term that refers to shortened forms of words or phrases that were created by different methods. In American English, many common abbreviations are followed by period (.). When we use abbreviations at the end of the sentences, we need only one period. Besides, there are specific rules on how to capitalize and punctuate certain abbreviations.

In current practice, abbreviations are considered informal but they can also be used in academic texts, for example, in technical writing, although there are specific rules of using them. For example, if you want to abbreviate some phrase for the first time, you should use the abbreviation in parenthesis. Besides, you should make sure that an abbreviation is familiar to your readers and use it not less than 3 time in the text. Do not use too many abbreviations in your paper because it will be easier for your readers to understand what you have written if most words are spelt out. You can learn more about the use of abbreviations if you read style manuals. You are sure to find them online or in your college library.

Keep in mind that there are different types of abbreviations. You can use them to avoid repeating certain words and phrases in the texts of your essay or to save time and space. If you decide to do that, make sure that your abbreviations are standards so your readers will easily understand what you mean. As to the month abbreviations, they are common and are used in different documents and you’ll need them for creating a list of all your sources.

Month Short Form

How can we abbreviate the word “month”? Unfortunately, there is no single correct answer to this question. These forms are not standardized. There are several different ways to abbreviate this word and their usage depends on the specific context. For example, you can use mo (plural mos), m-th, m’th, and mth (plural mths). The last abbreviated form is the most popular month short form. It’s important to remember that the word ‘month’ is never abbreviated in formal writing.

When you need to use the date format that indicates the month, day, and the year, you can write it this way, using two letters: MM/DD/YY. In some documents, it’s possible to write only one letter “m”. Besides, there is a specific per month abbreviation. It’s PE. And there is an abbreviation for per –p.

Now let’s see how we can abbreviate specific month of the year. We must admit that approaches to that in APA and MLA styles differ. According to APA, you can’t use any abbreviations and should spell every name of the month in full. So if you need to format your document in APA style, you should never include a month abbreviation.

As to MLA, certain months are not abbreviated. They are July, June, and May. Wondering why? There is no need to use an abbreviation because these words are already short as they consist of only 4 letters. The remaining months of the calendar should be spelled this way:

January – Jan., February – Feb., March – Mar., April – Apr., August – Aug., September – Sept., October – Oct., November – Nov., December – Dec.
According to Associated Press stylebook, you should write the full name of the month if you use them alone or with a year alone. And if you use the names of months with a specific date, you can abbreviate them. You should keep in mind that names of months are capitalized.

How to Abbreviate Days of the Week

Names of the days of the week can be abbreviated as well if there is not enough space to spell them out. You can do it this way.

  • Sunday – Sun.
  • Monday – Mon.
  • Tuesday – Tu., Tue., and Tues.
  • Wednesday – Wed.
  • Thursday – Th., Thu., Thur., or Thurs
  • Friday – Fri.
  • Saturday – Sat.

When you write a date in formal writing, you must always use a comma between the day of the week and the month:

Fri., Nov., 15 or Mon., Mar., 23

I was born on Nov. 15, 1990.

List of Other Abbreviations of Time

There are other abbreviations for words related to time. For example, you can abbreviate hour as hr., minute as min., and second as sec. The abbreviation for a year is yr. and a centurycent. Keep in mind that the abbreviation for years can mean both years and years so you can use in such ways as 1 yr. or 3 yr.
You can also abbreviate words that are names for the specific parts of the day: noon – 12:00 p.m. and midnight – 12:00 a.m.

When we write the number of years and centuries, we can use such abbreviations as A. D. (AD) that stands for anno Domini and B.C. (BC) that stands for Before Christ. We can also write C.E. or CE that means Common Era and B.C.E. (BCE) that means before Common Era. Such words are called acronyms. Each acronym is formed from initial letters of each word in a phrase and can be read as a single word. Actually, acronyms are a sub-type of abbreviations.

Here are some examples of sentences with abbreviations of time.

  • Rome was founded in 754 B.C.
  • They typically finish work at 5 p.m.
  • Her son is 3 yr. o.
  • Westminster Abby was first built in 960 A.D.

Now you know specific abbreviation for each month and day of the week. It’s important to use them consistently throughout your papers and follow the rules of a specific style. For example, you may use lower case letters or capital letters in such abbreviations like P.M. and A.M. Both methods are correct but you should follow them consistently. Besides, you should use these abbreviations sparingly, especially in a formal style.

It’s very common to use abbreviations in personal and casual writing, but they are often OK in formal writing as well. If you are unsure whether you should do that, it’s better to ask your teacher. We recommend you to use this article as a reminder when documenting sources for your papers written in APA and MLA styles. If you need advice on other important aspects of academic writing, check out other useful articles from our blog. You are sure to find a lot of useful writing tips that will help you study smarter and improve your writing skills.

Upgrade your essays with these FREE writing tools!
Get started now