Abbreviations have become something of a mess in the English language. So, it’s difficult to understand which ones are correct. What compounds the issue are the intricacies between the UK and American English, especially in the ways of writing.
The abbreviation for “number” is no exception to this confusion and is one of the main abbreviations with a plethora of variations. So, what is the correct abbreviation for “number?” Is it Nr or No? Generally, No is good for both countries, but there are nuances.
When you’re in the UK and you want to write down an abbreviation for “number,” write it like this:
If you are in the building industry, such as construction or plumbing, then you will see packaging use the abbreviation as:
For either No or Nr, and you want to use a plural form:
Nos or Nrs
Nos 3, 4 and 5
Nrs 3, 4 and 5
The United States will rarely if ever use Nr as an abbreviation. Rather, the pound sign (#) is the most common:
It is not necessary to put the pound symbol before every number used in a sequence. But, you do have to list it for every independent mention.
Sequence: #3, 4 and 5
Independent: #3 belongs to Billing and #4 is for Shipping and Distribution
Both the US ; UK
In both the American and UK abbreviations for “number,” “No” is acceptable. However, you must use a period in the US format:
UK = No
You have hotel room No 4.
US = No.
You have hotel room No. 4.
Do not use the plural forms of No or Nr in the US and avoid using the pound sign in the UK. This is because of the confusion you’ll create. Although a completely different symbol, the pound is money in the UK. If you don’t include the period for American English, many may mistake it for “No,” as in the negative of “Yes.”
The abbreviation for “number” can be both No or Nr. But these will depend on the country you’re in. This is particularly true of No, where the difference between the UK and US will be the use of a period. Nr is more for the building industry in the UK and is rarely used in the US.