As discussed in this question, the abbreviations f and ff can be used to refer to following page numbers. For instance, pages 45-46 can be written as 45f. This is quite common in German law, but I wonder if it is commonly accepted for scientific publications? I work in the engineering field, but I would be interested in a more general answer.

Further questions that come to mind:

  • Apart from page numbers, can these abbreviations also be used for line numbers and paragraphs (e.g. lines 10ff, paragraphs 3f? This would be useful as I am currently preparing a review of a paper and need to refer to specific parts of the manuscript.

  • Are there cases in which I should prefer specific notations, such as lines 10-23 instead of 10ff?

  • 1
    What are you trying to do with these abbreviations, and in what field? I've not seem them used in STEM publications, but I could imagine if appearing in something more textually focused, like a literary critique.
    – jakebeal
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 10:48
  • I have never come across these..
    – Coder
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 11:03
  • 2
    @jakebeal literature guy here. I wouldn't use them as described in the linked question. For me, f./ff. are direct equivalents to p./pp., but used for manuscripts and incunables that, instead of being numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ..., are numbered 1r, 1v, 2r, 2v, 3r, ... I would probably not recognize it initially to mean the following pages (I'm used to ss. for that although I don't know anyone who uses it) Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 11:30
  • 1
    I have seen f and ff, but not in scientific writing. And never for paragraphs or anything but pages.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 11:43
  • 1
    Using f and ff is not an accepted style for APS journals (American Physical Society), having just looked through their style manual.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


Working in STEM fields, I have never seen this form of citations. Instead, on those rare occasions where citations talk about specific locations in a text, people use explicit page and/or line numbers.

I thus suspect that if you used this form of reference in an engineering publication, it will be confusing to your reviewers and readers, and you will be asked to change them.

  • 2
    Chiming in from biological sciences, specifically neuroscience. Also never seen this and would not recommend.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 1:13

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