Period Contractions

Period Contractions: What They Are and How to Use Them

Period contractions, also known as clipped or shortened words, are a type of contraction that ends in a period instead of an apostrophe. Examples of period contractions include Mr. for Mister, Dr. for Doctor, and St. for Saint. While period contractions are common in academic, legal, and formal writing, they can also add a level of informality and brevity to a piece of content.

History of Period Contractions

According to Merriam-Webster, period contractions have been used since the 1400s for words like Saint, Mister, and Mistress. These words were originally written with a period to indicate an abbreviation but over time, the shortened form became more common, and the period fell out of use.

Today, period contractions are still commonly used in formal writing and are often required in style guides for certain writing styles, such as APA or MLA.

Advantages of Using Period Contractions

Using period contractions can provide a few benefits to your writing, such as:

1. Clarity: Period contractions help to create a sense of clarity and brevity in your writing. They can help to avoid awkward phrasing and simplify long or complex words.

2. Formality: In formal writing, period contractions can create an air of formality and professionalism.

3. Accessibility: Period contractions can make your writing more accessible to readers who may not be familiar with certain words or phrases.

How to Use Period Contractions

When using period contractions, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

1. Use abbreviations that are widely recognized: While period contractions add a sense of formality to your writing, they can also be confusing if readers are not familiar with them. Be sure to use abbreviations that are widely recognized and easily understood.

2. Use them sparingly: While period contractions can add a sense of informality and brevity to your writing, overusing them can make your content appear too casual or even unprofessional.

3. Use them consistently: If you decide to use period contractions in your writing, be sure to use them consistently throughout your piece. This will help to avoid confusion and maintain clarity.


Period contractions are a useful tool for any writer looking to add a sense of brevity and formality to their work. By using them sparingly and consistently, you can create a polished and professional piece of content that is easily accessible to your readers.