5/21/2009

abbreviations and acronyms

The notation abbrev. is used in this book to identify the abbreviated form that may be used for a word in some contexts.

A few universally recognized abbreviations are required in some circumstances. Some others are acceptable depending on the context. But in general, avoid alphabet soup. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize.

Guidance on how to use a particular abbreviation or acronym is provided in entries alphabetized according to the sequence of letters in the word or phrase.

An acronym is a word forned from the first letter or letters of a series of words: laser (light amplification s by stimulated emission of radiation). An abbreviation is not an acronym.

Some general principles: BEFORE A NAME: Abbreviate titles when used before a full name: D., Gov., Lt. Gov., Mr., Mrs., Rep., the Rev., Sen. and certain military designations listed in the military titles entry.

For guidelines on how to use titles, see courtesy titles; legislative titles; military titles; religious titles; and the entries for the most commonly used titles.

AFTER A NAME: Abbreviate junior or senior after an individual's name. Abbreviate company, corporation, incorporated and limited when used after the name of a corporate entity. See entries under these words and company names.

In some cases, an academic degree may be abbreviated after an individual's name See academic degrees.

WITH DATES OR NUMERALS: Use the abbreviations A.D., B.C., a.m., p.m., No., and abbreviate certain months when used with the day of the month.

Right: In 450 B.C.; at 9:30 a.m.; in room No. 6; on Sept. 16.

Wrong: Early this a.m. he asked for the No. of your room.

The abbreviations are correct only with figures.

Right: Early this morning he asked for the number of your room.

See months and individual entries for these other terms:

IN NUMBERED ADDRESSES: Abbreviate avenue, boulevard and street in numbered addresses: He lives on Pennsylvania Avenue. He lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

See addresses.

STATES: The names of certain states and the United States are abbreviated with periods in some circumstances.

See state names; datelines; and individual entries.

ACCEPTABLE BUT NOT REQUIRED: Some organizations and government agencies are widely recognized by their initials: CIA, FBI, GOP.

If the entry for such an organization notes that an abbreviation is acceptable in all references or on second reference, that does not mean that its use should be automatic. Let the context determine, for example, whether to use Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI.

See second reference.

AVOID AWKWARD CONSTRUCTIONS. Do not follow an organization's full name with an abbreviation or acronym in parentheses or set off by dashes. If an abbreviation or acronym would not be clear on second reference without this arrangement, do not use it. Names not commonly before the public should bot be reduced to acronyms solely to save a few words.

SPECIAL CASES: Many abbreviations are desirable in tabulations and certain types of technical writing. See individual entries.

CAPS, PERIODS: Use capital letters and periods according to the listings in this book. For words not in this book use the first-listed abbreviation in Webster's New World College Dictionary. Generally, omit periods in acronyms unless the result would spell an unrelated word. But use periods in two-letter abbreviations: U.S., U.N., U.K., B.A., B.C., (AP, a trademark, is an exception. Also, no periods in GI and EU.)

Use all caps, but no periods, in longer abbreviations and acronyms when the individual letters are pronounced: ABC, CIA, FBI.

Use only an initial cap and then lowercase for acronyms of more than six letters, unless listed otherwise in this Stylebook or Webster's New World College Dictionary.