Most abbreviations are easy to figure out. It’s much more common to say “Mr.” instead of “Mister,” and writing “4 km” is a lot easier than “4 kilometers.” For some abbreviations, however, finding the right way to shorten them isn’t so easy. In fact, there could even be an incorrect way to abbreviate! That’s exactly the case with “continued.” So what’s the abbreviated form of “continued?”
Most style guides recommend using “cont.” as an abbreviation for “continued.” You might have also seen continued shortened to “cont’d,” but this isn’t an abbreviation – it’s a contraction. Unless you are severely limited on space, your best option will always be to write continued out in its full form.
Difference Between Cont. and Cont’d
As mentioned above, the best way to write continued is to simply use the full form. If you must shorten it, use “cont.” (Note: Without the period at the end, “cont.” will not be correct.) This is the safest way to ensure that your audience understands that you are abbreviating continued, and it’s generally acceptable in professional and casual settings. Of course, if you are using “cont.” in a professional setting, always make sure to check the preferred style guide and follow their recommendation.
You might not find “cont’d” in a style guide, but technically, it’s not incorrect. It’s a contraction that follows the same rules that bring us “can’t” from “cannot.” Instead of using the full form, you’re adding an apostrophe to note where the letters have been omitted. While “cont’d” is not continued abbreviated, it is certainly a grammatically correct contraction and can still be used.
If you’re choosing to go the contraction route, make sure that you are doing it properly. Don’t be tempted to change “cont’d” to “con’t.” The apostrophe isn’t in the correct place and over half the letters are missing from the original word. This makes “con’t” a grammatically incorrect contraction.
Using “Continued on next page”
This little line can be useful where a table or chart spills over into the next page. If you are writing a report or preparing a white paper, you may want to add a “continued on next page.” This helps ensure your audience doesn’t get lost. Similarly, journalists utilize “continued on next page” when a story starts and stops on different pages. These are excellent opportunities to use “continued on next page” in smaller, italicized font to make it clear to your reader that a table, chart, or story appears on multiple pages.
Generally speaking, you won’t need to worry about using “continued on next page.” That’s exactly what page numbers are used for, and everyone is familiar with content continuing from one page to the next.
Related: Proper Abbreviation of “Quarter” in Business Communication