Tuesday, April 04, 2006

St. Is Too Common an Abbreviation; I Have a Solution

St. is often used to abbreviate three unrelated words: "street," "state," and "saint." In my opinion, this is both confusing and lazy. Each of these independent concepts needs its own abbreviation.

We have precedent for shortening words beginning with st (or containing an s and a t) with three-letter abbreviations. "Station" is sta., "strait" is str., and "suite" is ste. On the other hand, these existing short-hand forms complicate the task at hand. "Street," for example, cannot be abbreviated str. or ste., and "state" cannot be shortened to sta. or ste. Thus the only viable three-letter abbreviation for "street" or "state" is stt.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to start with "saint." "Saint" should be abbreviated snt. Easy enough. Now the hard part: "Street," in my opinion, should retain the st. abbreviation, if only because changing the abbreviation for "street" would require replacing thousands of "street" signs at the tax payers' expense. "State," then, would get the abbreviation stt.

Here is the rundown of Josh Tinley.com's st abbreviations:

street = st.
saint = snt.
station = sta.
suite = ste.
strait = str.
state = stt.

I only hope that these small changes make casual, written English less confusing.


Blogger ColeWake said...

Have I ever told you, 'you think to much'?

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i believe you miss the important alternate abbreviation of "Sainte" when it is a female saint, Ste. what should be done with this?

12:01 PM  

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