Pieces or pcs [number of items in a box]


New Member
[Please note that this and the following posts have been moved from the thread
Abbreviation of number - N, N°, Nr, Nbr, No? where they were off-topic. Thanks. DonnyB - moderator.]
I understood that correct abbreviation of Number is No.
Speaking about a package label, where is indicated the numbers of pieces inserted on it, I need to understant f is better to indicated:
No. 123
Pcs. 123
Qty. 123

In my opinion "No." is better in a contest like: "Project No. 1234" instead is better to use "Pcs." or "Qty" in a contest like "there are 123 pcs." on in a label where are indicated many information like S/N, Code, Description and so on.

Thank you an bye bye
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  • PaulQ

    English - England
    Avoid this. "Pieces" is only very rarely used to indicate the number of individual items - the only context I can think of is a jigsaw puzzle, and in that case, it is usually written in full: "This puzzle has 5,000 pieces. (Also available as 2,000 pcs.)"


    English - England
    Invariably used by non-native speakers who think that "pieces" is an appropriate synonym of "items": it is not. (It is relatively common in this use in Indian English.)


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    But I have never seen '12 items' on a box. I agree that we don't normally say '12 pieces'; however I thought that '12 pcs' was a convention in labels on boxes or parcels. Here are some pencils from an American company for the American market (admittedly made in China ...).


    English - England
    admittedly made in China ...
    :D I think that many importers do simply say "Oh yes, and do the packaging as well..." and then skip over the "pieces" in the end result because the packaging is attractive and, in general, nobody reads the details - they see a number and that's it.

    Pieces = items used to be used quite regularly but this seems to have dropped off in the 19th century (hence Indian English's retention.) and Pieces now is used to refer to "parts of a recognisable whole" -> hence the jigsaw puzzle, model kit, three-piece suit, list of contents of a self-assembly unit.

    "Six dinner plates for sale - dropped only once - 12 pieces." :D


    Senior Member
    English English
    I worked in and around warehouses in the UK for several years and have seen the notation pcs/pcs. literally hundreds of times, on items from all over the place, including the UK.
    I'm not saying any more.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    In my experience, "pieces" is common, often abbreviated to "pcs", and, unlike "number" or "quantity" (whether abbreviated or not), can refer to dissimilar items, as in the bottom picture in post #3. Furthermore, "pieces" refers to the lowest-level separate items, whereas "quantity" or "number" could refer to an intermediate package size. Thus, the outer box of pencils in post #5 could have been labelled to say it contains 12 packs, in which case "quantity" could refer to the number of packs or the number of pencils (for example: "qty 12" or "qty 144"), whereas "144 pcs" can only refer to the number of pencils.

    If the parts in the box are all the same and there is no intermediate level of packaging, then I recommend using "quantity" rather than "pieces", and reserve "pieces" for occasions when it is needed to avoid ambiguity.


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Our company has a thermal printing label maker. The labels are all just four inches wide. The program for imprinting these labels has a very specific number of characters per field. Very often "PCS" will fit where "PCS." will not fit, and where "pieces" definitely will not fit.

    I would say that "PCS." (with a period) is an abbreviation and "PCS" (without a period) is a symbol.

    That same distinction is made for state abbreviations (USA) and state symbols (USA, postal symbols).

    Name: New York
    Abbreviation: N.Y.
    Symbol: NY

    Name: Massachusetts
    Abbreviations: Mass. or Ma.
    Symbol: MA

    Name: Connecticut
    Abbreviation: Ct. or Conn.
    Symbol: CT
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