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Is it correct to use eng as a shorthand for engineering? For example, can we use this form of introduction for a master's student?

MSc student in hardware eng

If so, should we put a . after eng? I mean eng.

  • This has been asked on ELU, where the top-rated answer says There's no common standard abbreviation for engineer (and another one says NOAD lists both eng. and engr. as valid abbreviations). Personally I'd recommend just writing out the word in full and moving on. – FumbleFingers Nov 16 '17 at 16:28
  • @J.R.♦: Okay, I will take my shots. I got a bit worked up as the interchange went on, but I genuinely intended the last sentence in that first comment to be seen as light-hearted (Helen - if you were offended, I apologise unreservedly). At the risk of seeming like a dog with a bone though, I will also risk pointing out that whereas I've no right to pontificate on what engineers (or anyone else, for that matter) should or should not be interested in learning about, I think I've got as much right as anyone else here to have opinions on what is or is not a worthwhile ELL question. – FumbleFingers Nov 16 '17 at 20:02
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To my (American, engineering-school-educated) ear, this usage seems unambiguously understandable, but very informal.

At my engineering school, it was common to verbally abbreviate "Engineering" as "Eng" (pronounced "Enj", like the first syllable of "Engineering"). This was done in contexts where an immediately preceding word or abbreviation described the kind of engineering. These short phrases usually matched formal department names or parts of department names.

The phrases were therefore capitalized. When written down, putting a period after each part of the abbreviation was optional. I think it was more common to omit both periods than to include both periods. The only time one would put a period after one abbreviation but not the other was when ending a sentence with such an abbreviated phrase.

For example:

  • Mech Eng
  • Comp Sci
  • I'd think "Mech Eng" is "Mechanical English". Without the periods this looks odd. Surely, I'm not going to argue, but this might be very wrong. – SovereignSun Nov 16 '17 at 16:56
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    @SovereignSun -- The inclusion of "what type of engineering" is what makes the abbreviation unambiguously about engineering, instead of English. "Mechanical English" is not a discipline in American education, whereas "Mechanical Engineering" is. – Jasper Nov 16 '17 at 16:59
  • @SovereignSun -- You are correct that in formal writing, abbreviations like these need the periods. For example, Mech. Eng. and Comp. Sci. Of course, these words are not abbreviated in most formal writing. – Jasper Nov 16 '17 at 17:23
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    @SovereignSun - What Jasper said about context. Mech Eng, Civ Eng, and Nuc Eng are clearly mechanical engineering, civil engineering and nuclear engineering respectively (at least to anyone with a technical or academic background), while Eng Comp might be interpreted as shorthand for English composition. The arrangement of the shorthand tokens will matter, too: I'd suppose Eng Comp is English Composition, but Comp Eng would likely refer to Computer Engineering. – J.R. Nov 16 '17 at 18:23
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The most common contraction is "engr.". Google says that "eng." and "engnrg." are also possible variants but I've never come across those.

You can use "eng." (yes, you need the period) but better use "engr."

You may find this ELU question interesting: Contraction for engineer

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