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Names and Titles of Persons 

Names and Titles of Persons


Roxanne K. Young

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Names and Titles of Persons

Given names should not be abbreviated in the text or in bylines except by using initials, when so indicated by the author. The editor should verify the use of initials with the author. (Some publishers prefer to use initials, instead of given names.)

Do not use Chas., Geo., Jas., Wm., etc, except when such abbreviations are part of the formal name of a company or organization that regularly uses such abbreviations (see 14.7, Business Firms). When an abbreviation is part of a person’s name, retain the period after the abbreviation, eg, Oliver St. John Gogarty, MD.

Initials used in the text to indicate names of persons (eg, coauthors of an article) should be followed by periods and set close within parentheses. Note: This is one of the few instances in which a period is used with an abbreviation.

A method was devised to calculate familial risk (K.A.R., unpublished observations, 2006).

A person who is not an author may also be mentioned in the text, in which case the full name and academic degree are used.

Although measurements of the various components were divided among 3 examiners (R.Z., D.O.M., and Norris T. Friedlin, MD), each examiner measured the same components at each annual session.

Senior and Junior are abbreviated when they are part of a person’s name. The abbreviation follows the surname and is followed by a comma only when the abbreviation precedes another, such as an academic degree. (But: See 19.7.5, Numbers and Percentages, Forms of Numbers, Roman Numerals, and 3.7, References, Authors.) Note: These abbreviations are used only with the full name (never Dr Forsythe Jr).

Peter M. Forsythe Jr, MD, performed his landmark research in collaboration with James Philips Sr, PhD, at the National Institutes of Health.

Names with roman numerals do not take a comma: Pope Benedict XVI, Marshall Field IV.

Many titles of persons are abbreviated but only when they precede the full name (given name or initials and surname). Spell titles out (except Dr, Mrs, etc) when (1) used before a surname alone (except in some cases as described below), (2) used at the beginning of a sentence, and (3) used after a name (in this instance, the title should not be capitalized). (But: See also 14.2, US Military Services and Titles.)

  • Colonel Jonas

  • COL Miranda Jonas, MC, USA

  • Dr Jonas, colonel in the army

  • Alderman Daley

  • Ald Vi Daley

  • Vi Daley, alderman of the 43rd Ward of Chicago

  • Father Doyle

  • Fr Raymond G. Doyle

  • Raymond G. Doyle, SJ

  • Governor Blagojevich

  • Gov Rod Blagojevich

  • Rod Blagojevich, governor of Illinois

  • Representative McDermott

  • Rep Jim McDermott

  • Jim McDermott, MD, representative from the state of Washington

  • Senator Obama

  • Sen Barack Obama (D, Illinois)

  • Barack Obama, US senator from Illinois

  • Sister Monica

  • Sr Monica Sobieski

  • Monica Sobieski, SJC, mother superior

  • Superintendent Smith

  • Supt H. B. Smith

  • Henry B. Smith, EdD, superintendent of schools

  • the Reverend Katharine M. Burke

  • the Reverend Dr Burke

  • Rev Katharine M. Burke

Note: The Reverend, Reverend, or Rev is used only when the first name or initials are given with the surname. When only the surname is given, use the Reverend Mr (or Ms or Dr), Mr (or Ms or Dr), or Father (Roman Catholic and some Protestant denominations). Never use the Reverend Brown, Reverend Brown, or Rev Brown.

Exception, Heads of State: President is not abbreviated. It is capitalized when it precedes a name and is set lowercase when following a name (see also 10.3.10, Capitalization, Proper Nouns, Titles and Degrees of Persons):

  • President John F. Kennedy

  • President and Mrs Kennedy

  • John F. Kennedy, president of the United States

  • the president

The following social titles are always abbreviated when preceding a surname, with or without first name or initials: Dr, Mr, Messrs, Mrs, Mmes, Ms, and Mss. Note that in most instances, the title Dr should be used only after the specific academic degree has been mentioned and only with the surname.

Arthur L. Rudnick, MD, PhD, gave the opening address. At the close of the meeting, Dr Rudnick was named director of the committee on sports injuries.

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