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© 2009 Ugur Akinci
I just came across a great article on how to abbreviate titles and other things and what NOT to abbreviate. I think we all need a refresher like this from time to time, especially if English is your second language.
Here is an excerpt from this useful article by M. J. Mardan:
Titles before names:
Mrs., Mr., Ms., Prof., Dr., Gen., Rep., Sen., St. (for Saint)
Notice that Miss is not an abbreviation, so we don’t put a period after it. Ms. is not an abbreviation, either, but we do use a period after it — probably to keep it consistent with Mr. and Mrs.
The plural of Mr. is Messrs. (We invited Messrs. Carter, Lincoln, and Ford.) The plural of Dr. is Drs. (We consulted Drs. Carter, Lincoln, and Ford.) The plural of Mrs. is Mmes or Mmes. (with or without the period).
In most formal prose, we do not use titles, abbreviated or otherwise, with individuals. Ms. Emily Dickinson is simply Emily Dickinson, and after the first use of her full name, Dickinson will do (unless we need Emily to avoid confusion with other Dickinsons).
The abbreviations Rev. and Hon. (for Reverend and Honorable) are not, strictly speaking, titles; they are adjectives. In informal language or when we’re trying to save space or make a list, we can write ” Rev. Alan B. Darling and Hon. Francisco Gonzales”.
In formal text, we would write “the Reverend Alan B. Darling” and “the Honorable Francisco Gonzales” (i.e., it’s not a good idea to abbreviate either Reverend or Honorable when these words are preceded by “the”). Incidentally, we cannot say “We invited the reverend to dinner” and only a cad would invite “the rev.”