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Abbreviations1. In formal writing, one should not use abbreviations, except as indicated in rules 2, 3, and 4 below. For example:
Incorrect: The U.S. Supreme Court held that the defendant's rights had been violated.
Correct: The United States Supreme Court held that the defendant's rights had been violated.
Incorrect: Professor Jonas mentioned several cities that have domestic-partnership ordinances, e.g., New York and San Francisco.
Correct: Professor Jonas mentioned several cities that have domestic-partnership ordinances, including New York and San Francisco.
Incorrect: The Court announced its decision in the case on Oct. 12, 1994.
Correct: The Court announced its decision in the case on October 12, 1994.
2. When an abbreviation has become so common that it has supplanted the full name in common usage, one may use the abbreviation; however, one should do so without the use of periods. For example:
Incorrect: The N.A.A.C.P. was the subject of a profile on C.B.S. last week.Notice that in the preceding example, the points after "R" and "J" should be left in, because the meaning of the abbreviation is not sufficiently well known to most readers. Ordinarily, one would replace such an abbreviation with the full terms; however, one can not do so in this case because the legal corporate name involved includes the abbreviation.
Correct: The NAACP was the subject of a profile on CBS last week.
However: The defendant in the case is R.J. Reynolds Industries, Inc.
3. When writing legal citations, always use the abbreviations required by the Bluebook. However, when referring to a court in text, do not abbreviate. For example:
Incorrect: The Ill. Supreme Court required the return of the child to his birth mother. Smithson v. Bettaglia, 59 Illinois 2d 73, 180 Northeast Reporter 2d 754 (1994).
Correct: The Illinois Supreme Court required the return of the child to his birth mother. Smithson v. Bettaglia, 59 Ill. 2d 73, 180 N.E.2d 754 (1994).
Incorrect: McDermott International, IncorporatedCross References: The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation § 6 (15th ed. 1991).
Correct: McDermott International, Inc.
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