Submitted by juttin  •  October 5, 2009

p. v. pp.

Why is “page” abbreviated “p” while “pages” is “pp”? Of somewhat less interest to me, I also wonder whether “p” or “p.” is the correct notation?

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And the plural for the barrels of a carburetor is bbl.

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I have always used p. for one page and pp. for two or more pages.

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I remember learning this in high school, when I was taking Latin. The textbook had a picture of a coin that bore the face of some monarch. The coin identified this person as the reigning emperor of "BRITTANNIA," if I remember the spelling correctly. According to the book, the double T to pluralize the word "Britannia" --- which in this case referred to the British Isles --- in the same way that "pp" means pages. Don't know why my brain held onto this all these years, but it did.

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Quoting <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbreviation" rel="nofollow">Wikipedia</a> :

In Latin, and continuing to the derivative forms in European languages as well as English, single-letter abbreviations had the plural being a doubling of the letter for note-taking. Most of these deal with writing and publishing.

The rest of the wp article discusses the use of the final period as well (cf "History" section).

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