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I'm a Hungarian girl and I'd just like to know the meaning of the following abbreviations:
O Level / GCSE
A/AS Level


Crawford Kilian

Thanks for your question, Csilla—I've often read these abbreviations in British periodicals without really understanding them. In finding the answers, I also found Answers.com, which is now at the top of my "Useful Links" in the left-hand column.

O levels are the basic level of a school subject.

GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education.

A/AS level appears to stand for Advanced/Advanced Supplementary, recognizing a fairly wide mix of subjects that have not been taken in great depth.

HNC is the Higher National Certificate, awarded after reaching some level of post-secondary. One level higher is the HND, Higher National Diploma, which is one step below a bachelor's degree.

BTEC stands for Business & Technology Education Council, a subdegree evidently awarded for students who concentrate on subjects outside the usual academic programs.

Thanks for advancing my own education!


What does the Canadian stylebook say about the punctuation of Ms Jones--is it incorrect to put a period after Ms?



What is the preferred plural form of the abbreviation for "cash on delivery" (c.o.d.'s, CODs)?

Janice Doyle

Has abbreviating A.D. and B.C. changed with usage as other abbreviations have?


When the last word in a sentence is an abbreviation such as P.C., does one use only one period or two?

We thank the law firm of Johnson and Johnson, P.C..
or We thank the law firm of Johnson and Johnson, P.C..

Crawford Kilian

One period at the end is all you need:
We thank the law firm of Johnson and Johnson, P.C.


Is it A.M. or AM or a.m.?

I have seen it so many ways.

Barbara Kevorkian

In a sentence that has a clarifying phrase in parentheses that ends with the abbreviation, etc., do you put the period for the sentence outside of the parentheses, so it looks like this: (...etc.). or would you drop the period on the etc). or do you leave the period off?

Crawford Kilian

First, consider whether you really need to end a sentence that way!

But if you must, then (...etc.). is the correct punctuation.


is there any abbrevation for the word TEACHER?


What a good question! We do have Prof. for Professor, Instr. for Instructor, and so on. But I can't recall an abbreviation for teacher.


What about when there is a comma next to the abbreviation? For example: "The countries competing include the U.S., the U.K., and China."

Is that correct? Or is the second period omitted?

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