Abbreviating References to Specific Pages in Source Texts
Whenever a source is directly quoted in a piece of scholarly writing, the specific page on which that quotation can be found should be included with the in-text reference. In some cases page numbers are included to make references more precise even when text is not directly quoted. Page numbers are also an element of many of the references included in the bibliographical lists that appear at the end of academic and scientific documents. In both places these page references can usually be abbreviated to make them short but also clear for readers, and there are a number of standard abbreviations that can be used for this purpose without definition or explanation. The following list records the most common among these. When more than one form is given, one form should be chosen and used consistently throughout a document.
• A ‘p.’ or ‘p’ is the standard abbreviation for ‘page,’ as in ‘p.23.’ The plural form is ‘pp.’ or ‘pp,’ as demonstrated in ‘pp.23–28.’
• An ‘f.’ or ‘f’ abbreviates ‘and following’ and refers to the page after the one specified: ‘pp.26f.’ therefore refers to pages 26 and 27. The plural form is ‘ff.’ or ‘ff’ and refers to two or more pages that follow a specified page, so ‘pp.26ff.’ indicates, for example, pages 26 through 31. Although this type of reference is acceptable in some styles, providing the second number as well as the first for a specific range of pages is preferable and helps avoid confusion. This means that ‘pp.26f.’ is better expressed as ‘pp.26–27’ and ‘pp.26ff.’ is better as ‘pp.26–31.’
• The form ‘et seq.’ abbreviates the Latin phrase ‘et sequens,’ which means ‘and the following,’ so it is an alternative to the ‘f.’ abbreviation above. The plural form is ‘et seqq.,’ abbreviating the Latin ‘et sequentes’ (also meaning ‘and the following’). These abbreviations are generally, but not always, set in italic font. Like ‘f.’ and ‘ff.,’ they are used immediately after a specified page number, as in ‘pp.26 et seq.’ and ‘pp.26 et seqq.,’ but as with ‘f.’ and ‘ff.’ a specific page range is preferable (‘pp.26–27’ and ‘pp.26–31’). Please note when using these abbreviations that a full stop should not appear after ‘et,’ which is not abbreviated, but a stop should appear after the abbreviated ‘seq.’ or ‘seqq.’
• ‘Fol.,’ ‘fol.,’ ‘Fo.’ or ‘fo.’ are used to abbreviate ‘folio,’ which refers to an entire leaf of a book or manuscript and thus to the pages on both sides of the leaf. An ‘s’ is added before the full stop in each case to form the plural (e.g., ‘fols.’ and ‘fos.’).
• When referring to folios, the abbreviations ‘r’ and ‘v’ are often used to indicate which side of a folio is intended. The ‘r’ abbreviates the Latin word ‘recto,’ meaning ‘on the right,’ so it refers to the front or first page of a folio, which appears on the right side when a book lies open before the reader. ‘Fol.88r’ therefore indicates the recto side of the 88th folio. The ‘v’ abbreviates the Latin word ‘verso,’ meaning ‘on the turned,’ so it refers to the back or second page of a folio. ‘Fol.88v’ therefore refers to the verso side of the 88th folio. These abbreviations are used primarily in references to manuscripts and early printed books, but the ‘recto’ abbreviation is sometimes omitted as unnecessary, with ‘fol.88’ referring to the recto of the folio and ‘fol.88v’ referring to the verso. The ‘verso’ abbreviation, on the other hand, should never be omitted.
• The abbreviation ‘esp.’ for ‘especially’ can be used to suggest that certain pages are particularly important, as in ‘pp.82–86 esp.’
• If no page number is available, the abbreviation ‘n.p.’ for ‘no page’ can be used to indicate this fact, but be aware that ‘n.p.’ can also mean ‘no publisher’ or ‘no place of publication,’ so the meaning of the abbreviation must be clarified via context and position.