I've realised I don't know what to do if I have abbreviations such as a.m. or p.m. at the end of a sentence.
My wife is a non-native English speaker hence has lots of textbooks, but I can't find explicit coverage.
By rights I guess there should be two full stops. When a comma is needed, such as after 2:30 p.m., it looks OK but it looks wrong to me to have the two full stops, such as 2:30 p.m..
I'm using single full stops at the moment but then there's no actual end to the sentence. What is the rule in real English (as opposed to American English where they put full stops where we don't, such as Mr. and Dr.)?

Dr. Craig Graham, Software Engineer
Advanced Analysis and Integration Limited, UK. http://www.aail.co.uk /
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I've realised I don't know what to do if I have abbreviations such as a.m. or p.m. at the end ... we don't, such as Mr. and Dr.)? Dr. Craig Graham, Software Engineer Advanced Analysis and Integration Limited, UK. http://www.aail.co.uk /

As far as I am aware, two periods are never used in any variety of English when an abbreviation appears at the end of a sentence.

You may or may not have been joking with your comment concerning "real English," but consider the following advice from the FAQ for the newsgroup alt.usage.english a FAQ consulted also by members of this newsgroup:

From
http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxguidel.html
(quote)
Things you may want to consider avoiding when posting here:

(4) assertions that one variety of English is "true English".

(end quote)

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
I've realised I don't know what to do if I have abbreviations such as a.m. or p.m. at the end ... real English (as opposed to American English where they put full stops where we don't, such as Mr. and Dr.)?

The practice in BrEng is that the stop for the abbreviation "doubles up" in function when it's at the end of a sentence. I know that offends against logic, but two full stops at the end of a sentence looks too much like an incomplete ellipse.
(A friendly word of advice: people in this group tend to use the neutral terms "British English" or "English English". There is no heirarchy of legitimacy; all versions are "real".)

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 21 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I've realised I don't know what to do if I have abbreviations such as a.m. or p.m. at the end ... real English (as opposed to American English where they put full stops where we don't, such as Mr. and Dr.)?

A similar problem occurs frequently in Franz Kafka's The Trial and The Castle. The main character in both id Josef K. In my translation the K always has a full stop after it:
'This is the door,' said K., and he opened it.
Often the K. comes at the end of a sentence and it can cause problems: "When I was talking to K. I noticed he had a lisp." (This must be worse in German where all nouns are capitals.)

Hopefully more modern translations would change Josef K.to Josef K and instantly dispense with all problems; as you should do with 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.. They should now be 7am and 7pm. If you continue your current usage then remember that you would not use a double-full-stop: "I met him at 7 p.m. He was drunk."
Alan

Work like the ponies in coalmines.
Dance like the teardrop explodes.
Love like you're Frank in Blue Velvet.
Sing as though your little throat would burst.
The practice in BrEng is that the stop for the abbreviation "doubles up" in function when it's at the end ... offends against logic, but two full stops at the end of a sentence looks too much like an incomplete ellipse.

Apologies for getting backs up, and thanks for the quick replies.

Dr. Craig Graham, Software Engineer
Advanced Analysis and Integration Limited, UK. http://www.aail.co.uk /
The practice in BrEng is that the stop for the ... of a sentence looks too much like an incomplete ellipse.

Apologies for getting backs up, and thanks for the quick replies.

It's a pretty friendly group, but since it sometimes attract trolls on subjects like that, the radar of regular readers tends to be sensitive to it...

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 21 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Hopefully more modern translations would change Josef K.to Josef K and instantly dispense with all problems; as you should do ... current usage then remember that you would not use a double-full-stop: "I met him at 7 p.m. He was drunk."

Do you have any kind of authoritative reference for the am and pm format change?
My wife's a translator, and when she goes to English I proofread it. I recall different agencies have in the past made different comments on a.m. versus am time formats and it's never been clear which is formally correct. Being able to cite a reference would make things much easier.

Dr. Craig Graham, Software Engineer
Advanced Analysis and Integration Limited, UK. http://www.aail.co.uk /
I've realised I don't know what to do if I have abbreviations such as a.m. or p.m. at the end ... real English (as opposed to American English where they put full stops where we don't, such as Mr. and Dr.)?

There is an increasing tendency in BrEng to omit stops indicating abbreviations. So "am" and "pm" are used in place of "a.m." and "p.m.". The use of stops is increasingly seen as old-fashioned and unnecessary. It has become a matter of style rather the "correctness".

Adopting the stopless style would circumvent your problem.

Peter Duncanson
UK
(posting from a.e.u)
Hopefully more modern translations would change Josef K.to Josef K ... double-full-stop: "I met him at 7 p.m. He was drunk."

Do you have any kind of authoritative reference for the am and pm format change? My wife's a translator, and ... formats and it's never been clear which is formallycorrect. Being able to cite a reference would make things much easier.

No - it may be mentioned in the F.A.Q. ;-)
It's just a general thing; Mr. is now Mr, Baker St. is now Baker St and so on. I think it looks better.
Alan
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