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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Punctuating an address

    Could you punctuate the following (spoof) address, please, and explain the rules that govern each punctuation mark?

    Mr J G Smith BSc MRCVS
    Uplands
    St Johns Lane
    Rake
    Nr Liss
    Herts XY4 8GH


    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #2

    Re: Punctuating an address

    I think you put a comma at the end of each line, and a full stop after the initials (Mr, BSc, St) and abbreviations (Nr, Herts). And you need an apostrophe in "John's".

    But it's so long since I've written a letter I can't remember for sure.

    I love teh internet.

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    #3

    Re: Punctuating an address

    Traditionally, you put a comma at the end of each line, and a comma to separate a house number from the name of the street, like this:

    4, High Street,

    You'd need an apostrophe in "John's" if that is the official way of spelling that specific road. It's also best to put the post code on a separate line.

    The commas are probably not necessary these days, and addresses are often written without them. The issue of full stops after abbreviations is a fascinating one, and one that confuses many people. In particular, they are used far less in Britain now than in the America.

    In America, the rule is very easy -- and until fairly recently it was the same rule in Britain: if it's an abbreviation, it needs a full stop.

    But in Britain now, the convention is to use a full stop only if the last letter of the abbreviation is NOT the last letter of the word it represents.

    For example:

    "Mr" is an abbreviation of "master"; the "r" in "Mr" is the last letter of "master", so, no full stop.
    "St" is an abbreviation of "saint" -- again, no full stop.
    "Nr" is an abbreviation of "near" -- again, no full stop.
    "Herts." is an abbreviation of "Hertfordshire"; the "s" is not the last letter of "Hertfordshire", so we do need a full stop.

    Furthermore, it is now not normal to use full stops for academic degrees ("BSc" instead of "B.Sc."), initialisms ("MRCVS" instead of "M.R.C.V.S.") and initials ("J G Smith" instead of "J. G. Smith").

    Officially, you shouldn't use "Nr X". Rather, you should use the name of the official post town in capital letters. For example, if XY4 represents the town of Liss, then "Liss" should be written "LISS". The county name is not required.

    The modern, officially correct way to address the letter would be as follows:

    ------------------------
    Mr J G Smith BSc MRCVS
    Uplands
    St John's Lane
    Rake
    LISS
    Herts.

    XY4 8GH
    ------------------------

    Note that if you are writing to an address in the US or Canada, you are supposed to write everything in capital letters and use no punctuation at all.


    • Join Date: Sep 2006
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    #4

    Re: Punctuating an address

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss View Post

    But in Britain now, the convention is to use a full stop only if the last letter of the abbreviation is NOT the last letter of the word it represents.

    Furthermore, it is now not normal to use full stops for academic degrees ("BSc" instead of "B.Sc."), initialisms ("MRCVS" instead of "M.R.C.V.S.") and initials ("J G Smith" instead of "J. G. Smith").

    Officially, you shouldn't use "Nr X". Rather, you should use the name of the official post town in capital letters. For example, if XY4 represents the town of Liss, then "Liss" should be written "LISS". The county name is not required.

    Note that if you are writing to an address in the US or Canada, you are supposed to write everything in capital letters and use no punctuation at all.
    I didn't know any of this. Thank you.

  3. Newbie
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    #5

    Re: Punctuating an address

    Thank you for the prompt and clear reply. I used to use full stops after abbreviations and commas after each line; when did it all change?

  4. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552
    #6

    Re: Punctuating an address

    Well, it's really a matter of convention and style rather than rules. If you feel happier using full stops and commas, by all means use them. The important thing is that the address is legible, especially the postcode.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Punctuating an address

    Yes, legibility is the main thing - and 'legible' for machines, rather than people. So punctuation often gets dropped. (I live in a village called Spencers Wood. When I first came here, I wanted to give it an apostrophe - as indeed it once had. But all the offiicial records today have no apostrophe.)

    b

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