1. Education

State Abbreviations


As a general rule, the names of states should be spelled out when they appear in sentences:

When the Oakies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states.
(Will Rogers)
However, in bibliographies, lists, and mailing addresses, state names are usually abbreviated.

The two-letter, no-period state abbreviations recommended by the U.S. Postal Service (see Postal Abbreviations in the chart below) should always be used where a ZIP code follows. These postal (or ZIP code) abbreviations may also be used in any context where abbreviations are appropriate.

Some writers and editors still prefer to use the older forms of state abbreviations (see Traditional Abbreviations in the table below). If you follow this practice, be consistent in your use of the traditional abbreviations, and remember that eight states (Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas, and Utah) are only rarely abbreviated when using the older (pre-ZIP code) forms.

Finally, United States may be abbreviated to U.S. when used as an adjective, but it is customarily spelled out as a noun.

State Abbreviations

Alabama AL Ala.
Alaska AK Alaska
Arizona AZ Ariz.
Arkansas AR Ark.
California CA Calif.
Colorado CO Colo.
Connecticut CT Conn.
Delaware DE Del.
District of Columbia DC D.C.
Florida FL Fla.
Georgia GA Ga.
Hawaii HI Hawaii
Idaho ID Idaho
Illinois IL Ill.
Indiana IN Ind.
Iowa IA Iowa
Kansas KS Kans.
Kentucky KY Ky.
Louisiana LA La.
Maine ME Maine
Maryland MD Md.
Massachusetts MA Mass.
Michigan MI Mich.
Minnesota MN Minn.
Mississippi MS Miss.
Missouri MO Mo.
Montana MT Mont.
Nebraska NE Neb. or Nebr.
Nevada NV Nev.
New Hampshire NH N.H.
New Jersey NJ N.J.
New Mexico NM N.Mex.
New York NY N.Y.
North Carolina NC N.C.
North Dakota ND N.Dak.
Ohio OH Ohio
Oklahoma OK Okla.
Oregon OR Ore. or Oreg.
Pennsylvania PA Pa.
Rhode Island RI R.I.
South Carolina SC S.C.
South Dakota SD S.Dak.
Tennessee TN Tenn.
Texas TX Tex. or Texas
Utah UT Utah
Vermont VT Vt.
Virginia VA Va.
Washington WA Wash.
West Virginia WV W.Va.
Wisconsin WI Wis. or Wisc.
Wyoming WY Wyo.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.