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Unit 8 Letters in Math


Abbreviations are a particularly tricky topic. They can be written in UEB or in Nemeth depending on the context. An abbreviation that is in regular type and its related number may be transcribed in UEB as long as it does not touch a math symbol, or sign of operation or comparison. However, an abbreviation that is part of a mathematical expression or equation must be transcribed in Nemeth Code and placed between Nemeth Code indicators.

Note: A mathematical letter used as a variable or other mathematical symbol is not considered an abbreviation.

In both Nemeth and UEB transcriptions of abbreviations:

1) A space is left on either side on an abbreviation regardless of print except between a:

a. related period

b. indicator

c. slash or fraction line

d. grouping sign

2) An Abbreviation and its related number are never separated between two lines.

3) The components of a two-word abbreviation follow print spacing.

UEB Examples:

Add 1 tsp salt to the batch.


1 yd. is 3 ft.


1:00 p. m.


Mr. Goodman has a BA in math.


Nemeth Examples:

1 cm = 0.393701 in


19 fl.oz. + ?


12 hrs + 25 min + 14 sec


* Notice that the "in" contraction is not used in Nemeth.

3 teaspoons (tsp) = 1 tablespoon (tbsp)



* Notice that the number is taken down to the next line with the abbreviation.

More Nemeth Rules for Abbreviations

Non-Use of PI

The punctuation indicator (PI) is NOT used when a period or other sign of punctuation is considered part of the abbreviation, even if it is a mathematical abbreviation.


1 gal. = 1 qt. +2 pts.


eta = 4 a.m.


ELI (English Letter Indicator)

Even though no contractions are allowed in Nemeth Code, an abbreviation that is a single letter or the same lowercase letters as a shortform word needs an ELI to make sure it is not read as a contraction.


1 L = 1,000 g


* Notice that "L" could be read as "Like" and "g" could be read as "go."

12 mos. (1 yr)


fxr + tgr signaling


* Notice the "tgr" could be read as "together."

Non-Use of ELI with Period

If a single letter abbreviation, or an abbreviation with the same letters as a shortform word, has a period included in its abbreviation, the ELI is not needed because it is clear the letters are not meant as a contraction.


Do 4,000m. = 1k.?


5 abv. + 1 alt.


Non-Use of ELI with Capitalization

When an abbreviation that uses the same letters as a short form word is written in all-caps, the ELI is not needed because it is clear the letters are not meant as a contraction. Multi-letter abbreviations or acronyms are considered one unit and are capitalized using the double capital letter indicator.


P = 10 DCL


Of the numbers 8 and 12, GCD = 4


200ยข = ____ USD


Abbreviation with Hyphen

When a number is connected to a preceding single letter or multi-letter abbreviation by a hyphen, a numeric indicator is required after the hyphen.


Carbon-14 is written C-14




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