6.3.9 The Ampersand

The ampersand symbol (‘&’ meaning ‘and’) should not, as a general rule, be used in the running prose of a thesis. The ampersand is acceptable, however, in the titles of works and the names of companies and institutions if the ampersand is in fact used consistently by the work, company or institution itself, as it is in the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, ‘Mills & Boon’ and ‘M&Ms.’ Sometimes ampersands are used in abbreviated compounds such as ‘R & B’ (for ‘rhythm and blues’) ‘R & D’ (research and development) and ‘B & B’ (bed and breakfast), which can also appear in lowercase letters (r & b), with full stops (R. & D.) or without spaces (B&B), so be sure to use one form consistently throughout your thesis. The ampersand is frequently used in parenthetical author–date in-text references between the names of the last two authors of a publication – ‘(Taylor & Smith, 2006; Kerby-Fulton, Hilmo & Olson, 2012)’ – but when the author names appear in the main body of the text, ‘and’ should be used instead: ‘Kerby-Fulton, Hilmo and Olson (2012) provide transcriptions.’ The ampersand can be used in other parenthetical material as well, such as cross references – ‘(see Sections 1, 4 & 6)’ – where a comma should precede the ampersand if a serial comma is normally used in the thesis (see Sections 1, 4, & 6), but is not necessary (as in the first example here) if the serial comma does not usually appear in series of three or more items (see Section 5.6.1). The ampersand can also be used in tables, figures, notes and other ancillary material, and is frequently used in bibliographies and reference lists in the names of publishing companies and corporate authors, in the titles of works and between the names of the last two authors of a work (‘Kerby-Fulton, K., Hilmo, M., & Olson, L.’; see also Sections 7.2 and 7.3, as well as the reference list at the end of this book).

6.3.10 Common English Abbreviations Used in References

The following standard abbreviations (including alternate forms in some cases) are commonly used in source references (within the main text of a thesis as well as in notes, reference lists and bibliographies) and in cross references, though some of them can be used elsewhere in a thesis. As standard abbreviations, they usually do not require definition, but since some can take different forms, it is essential to use the same form for each abbreviation every time you use it in your thesis.

  • , app. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘appendix.’
  • Bk, bk, Bk., bk. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘book.’
  • , ch., Chap., chap. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘chapter’ (see also ‘c., cap.’ in Section 6.3.11 below).
  • (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘Company.’
  • , col. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘column.’
  • Country abbreviations are sometimes added after cities of publication in complete bibliographical references, especially if a particular city is not large or well known. These tend to take a simple two-letter form without stops or spaces: ‘CA’ for ‘Canada,’ ‘FR’ for ‘France’ and ‘UK’ for the ‘United Kingdom,’ but the country names can be written out as words instead. State abbreviations are used along with cities in the United States (see below).
  • , ed. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘editor’ or ‘edition.’ The capitalised form is sometimes used for one meaning while the lowercase form is used for the other; alternatively, the following abbreviation can be used for ‘edition.’
  • Edn, edn, Edn., edn. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘edition.’
  • : ‘especially.’
  • , f (the plural form is ‘ff.’ or ‘ff’): ‘and following.’ This abbreviation refers to the page or section following a specified page or section number. A single ‘f.’ is acceptable in some styles and ‘ff.’ referring to two or more pages or sections that follow a specified page or section is more common, but providing the second number for a specific range of pages or sections is always preferable (i.e., ‘pp.26–27’ is far better than ‘pp.26f.’ and ‘pp.26–31’ is better than ‘pp.26ff.’). Although ‘f.’ was originally (and still is technically) an abbreviation of the Latin folio, meaning ‘on the (next) leaf/page,’ it is now usually defined and used as an English abbreviation.
  • , fig. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘figure.’
  • , fol., Fo., fo. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘folio.’ Although also an abbreviation of the Latin word folium (meaning ‘leaf’ or ‘page’) and/or its ablative form folio, ‘fol.’ is usually defined with the English word ‘folio,’ and the plural ‘fols.’ represents the plural form of the English term (folios).
  • : ‘Incorporated.’
  • Initials of authors’ first names often feature full stops and spaces (M. J. B. Campbell), but in many cases the spaces are omitted except after the last initial of a name (M.J.B. Campbell) and in some referencing styles the full stops are omitted whether the spaces are retained (M J B Campbell) or not (MJB Campbell). In full bibliographical references, author names, particularly for the first author of each source, are often inverted, so the initials come after the surname with or without a preceding comma (‘Campbell, M.J.B.’ or ‘Campbell MJB’).
  • (the plural form is ‘ll.’): ‘line.’ This abbreviation can be used in lowercase at the beginning of a note, but since it can easily become confused with both Arabic and Roman numerals (‘1,’ ‘11,’ ‘I’ and ‘II’), it must be used carefully and is best avoided if possible.
  • Ltd, Ltd.: ‘Limited.’
  • d., n.d.: ‘no date.’
  • , n (the plural form is ‘nn.’ or ‘nn’): ‘note.’
  • p., n.p.: ‘no publisher,’ ‘no place of publication’ or ‘no page.’
  • , p (the plural form is ‘pp.’ or ‘pp’): ‘page.’ This abbreviation can be used in lowercase at the beginning of a note.
  • , para., ¶ (add an ‘s’ to the abbreviation or double the symbol – ‘¶¶’ – to form the plural): ‘paragraph.’
  • Pt, pt, Pt., pt. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘part.’
  • , S, Suppl., suppl.: ‘supplement.’
  • (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘scene.’
  • , sec., § (add an ‘s’ to the abbreviation or an extra symbol – ‘§§’ – to form the plural): ‘section.’
  • , ser.: ‘series.’ Sometimes an ‘s.’ alone is used for ‘series’ when combined with another letter/word, as in ‘o.s.’ (occasionally ‘OS’) for ‘old series,’ ‘n.s.’ (occasionally ‘NS’) for ‘new series’ and ‘s.s.’ (occasionally ‘SS’) for ‘second series.’
  • State abbreviations for the United States are often included after American cities of publication in complete bibliographical references, especially if a city is not large or well known. These generally take a simple two-letter form with both letters uppercase (‘CA’ for ‘California,’ ‘MI’ for ‘Michigan’ and ‘OR’ for ‘Oregon’), though in some styles the abbreviation can be longer and only the first letter is uppercase (‘Calif.,’ ‘Mich.’ and ‘Ore.’). See Appendix 3 in Butcher et al. (2006) for more information on state abbreviations.
  • , tr., Trans., trans.: ‘translator’ or ‘translation.’ One form can be used for the first meaning and the other for the second.
  • (the plural form is ‘vv.’): ‘verse.’ The abbreviation ‘v.’ is also used in references to legal cases to represent the Latin word versus, but since ‘verse’ tends to be used in literary studies, there is rarely overlap with legal matter; if there is confusion, it is best to write ‘verse’ out instead.
  • , vol. (add an ‘s’ to form the plural): ‘volume.’

Why PhD Success?

To Graduate Successfully

This article is part of a book called "PhD Success" which focuses on the writing process of a phd thesis, with its aim being to provide sound practices and principles for reporting and formatting in text the methods, results and discussion of even the most innovative and unique research in ways that are clear, correct, professional and persuasive.

The assumption of the book is that the doctoral candidate reading it is both eager to write and more than capable of doing so, but nonetheless requires information and guidance on exactly what he or she should be writing and how best to approach the task. The basic components of a doctoral thesis are outlined and described, as are the elements of complete and accurate scholarly references, and detailed descriptions of writing practices are clarified through the use of numerous examples.

The basic components of a doctoral thesis are outlined and described, as are the elements of complete and accurate scholarly references, and detailed descriptions of writing practices are clarified through the use of numerous examples. PhD Success provides guidance for students familiar with English and the procedures of English universities, but it also acknowledges that many theses in the English language are now written by candidates whose first language is not English, so it carefully explains the scholarly styles, conventions and standards expected of a successful doctoral thesis in the English language.

Individual chapters of this book address reflective and critical writing early in the thesis process; working successfully with thesis supervisors and benefiting from commentary and criticism; drafting and revising effective thesis chapters and developing an academic or scientific argument; writing and formatting a thesis in clear and correct scholarly English; citing, quoting and documenting sources thoroughly and accurately; and preparing for and excelling in thesis meetings and examinations. 

Interested in Proofreading your PhD Thesis? Get in Touch with us

If you are interested in proofreading your PhD thesis or dissertation, please explore our expert dissertation proofreading services.

Services

PhD Dissertation Proofreading

Our PhD dissertation proofreaders specialise in improving grammar, sentence structure, citations, references, clarity, logical flow and readability.

Master’s Dissertation Proofreading

To avoid failure and its consequences, send your dissertation to our master’s dissertation proofreading service.

Scientific Dissertation Proofreading

Our scientific proofreaders specialise in correcting and perfecting the language, editorial styles and references across all science fields.

Office

Dissertation-Proofreading.com
Devonshire Business Centre
Works Road
Letchworth Garden City
SG6 1GJ
United Kingdom

Contact Us