US vs. U.S.: When To Use Periods And When To Leave Them Out

by | Jun 30, 2011 | Grammar and Usage, Other Helpful Information, Proofreading, Punctuation, Uncategorized | 18 comments

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Do you feel confident when you write US vs. U.S.? Or have you just been winging it? Do you always use one form over the other because you think one is right and one is wrong? Read on for an explanation of when to use periods and when to leave them out. (Hint: Both forms are correct in different circumstances!)

Gregg Reference Manual states: “The name United States is usually abbreviated when it is part of the name of a government agency. When used as an adjective, the name is often abbreviated, though not in formal usage. When used as a noun, the name is spelled out.”

In other words, in general prose, one should use U.S. when abbreviating.
Of all the holidays we celebrate in the U.S., we especially look forward to Independence Day for the fireworks!

 

However, there are some exceptions:

U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA

U.S. Air Force or USAF

NOTE: When a company uses a geographic abbreviation in its corporate name or in the name of a product, respect the company’s style.

U.S.A., but USA Today

U.S., but U S WEST Communications

We hope this helps you feel more confident in the accuracy of your writing, but if you still feel fuzzy about the rules, whether it’s US vs. U.S. or other elements of style, Writer’s Relief can help! Expert proofreading is just one of the many helpful parts of our service!

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18 Comments

  1. Michelle

    any thoughts on R.S.V.P. vs. RSVP?

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      Hi Michelle,

      Both R.S.V.P. and RSVP are technically correct. However, it has recently become more commonplace to use RSVP without the periods.

      Reply
  2. Linda

    USA. Or U.S.A.

    Reply
  3. samgrog

    U.S. but it’s fine either way. I believe they recently changed it to RSVP, yet I may be wrong.

    Reply
  4. CrazyCatLady

    What about P.O.W. and POW? Or is it PoW? I have seen it many different ways.

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      We’ve seen it spelled POW, P.O.W., and PoW. It can be spelled any of the three ways.

      Reply
  5. Pamela Doe

    Is it US’s biggest or US’ biggest?

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      Hi Pamela,

      It is US’s biggest.

      Reply
  6. Nicholas

    Yeah, so is it “I’m from the USA.” or is it “I’m from the U.S.A.”?

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      We’ve seen it spelled both ways. Either way is fine.

      Reply
  7. Joe

    What about U.S.. or U.S. at the end of a sentence?

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      Hi Joe,

      It would be U.S. at the end of a sentence.

      Reply
  8. Bob Enyart

    How about at the end of a subtitle just prior to a colon, for example

    History of Inheritance in the US: blah blah
    or
    History of Inheritance in the U.S.: blah blah

    Without periods looks better. Is it acceptable? (Especially in an article that otherwise uses periods as at americanrtl.org/contstitution.)

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      Hi Bob,

      In that case, you can drop the period before the colon, so it would be U.S:

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
  9. Margaret Frances Tarski

    What about admin. does it need a period?

    Reply
    • Writer's Relief Staff

      No, it does not.

      Reply
  10. Tyson Trammell

    When I use U.S. in a sentence and put it at the end, do I put an extra period like U.S.. or just leave it at U.S.

    Reply
    • Blog Editor

      Just leave it at U.S.

      Reply

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