Q:

What are examples of two-letter state abbreviations?

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Quick Answer

Examples of two-letter abbreviations of U.S. states, according to the United States Postal Service, are: AK (Alaska), FL (Florida), KY (Kentucky), TN (Tennessee) and WV (West Virginia). A full list is available at the USPS website.

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Full Answer

As early as 1874, according to Wikipedia, the U.S. Government accepted abbreviations for many states and territories. Richard Nordquist, writing for About.com, reports that these abbreviations were four letters long, not two. Some states with shorter names, such as Idaho and Maine, were left without abbreviation.

Wikipedia reports that it was not until 1963 that two letter abbreviations became official USPS policy. While the USPS prefers these shorter abbreviations when the state name is followed by a ZIP code, according to Mr. Nordquist, it is still acceptable to use the old, longer abbreviations, or to write out the state's name in full, in order to avoid confusion.

Wikipedia points out that, since the names of eight states and two territories begin with the letter M, those abbreviations are often a source of confusion. Names and abbreviations for those states and territories are as follows: (ME) Maine, Marshall Islands (MH), Massachusetts (MA), Maryland (MD), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), Montana (MT) and Northern Mariana Islands (MP).

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