An abbreviation is a process by which a word is shortened, but the shortening can be carried out in various ways and can lead to different types of abbreviations. We can have abbreviations by abbreviations, by signs or symbols, by acronyms, by centuries, by acronyms, etc. To better understand the differences between abbreviations and abbreviations we can say that all abbreviations are abbreviations, but not all abbreviations are abbreviations.
An abbreviation is a word that has been shortened in one of two ways: by suspension or by contraction. In the first case, the shortening is produced by eliminating the last letters of the word (p.), while in the case of contraction it is carried out by eliminating letters that are in the middle of the word (Tfn.). In both cases, the deletion of letters is marked by putting a period to that abbreviation and it becomes an abbreviation. That is, the dot indicates that the word has been shortened and it is incorrect to do without it: an abbreviation must always have a dot.
The advantages of abbreviations is that they save time and space for the writer, but they also have drawbacks, since they require an extra effort from the reader, so they must be used sparingly. For the abbreviation to make sense we have had to shorten enough letters to make it worth using. The use of an abbreviation begins to be profitable when there is a saving of 2 or 3 characters counting the point (since it is one more character). In the case of the word page, with the use of the abbreviation we go from 6 characters to 4, so there is a saving of two characters.
A peculiarity of abbreviations is that, even if the word is abbreviated, the whole word is always read. Although we see written p. 16 we will always read 'page sixteen'. This differentiates abbreviations from other abbreviations, such as acronyms, acronyms and acronyms, since the latter are read forming new words and not using the word from which it arises. No one reads 'North Atlantic Treaty Organization', instead we all talk about NATO. We will talk about this type of abbreviations in the next article.