Abbreviating has become common in both written and spoken English. These shortened forms of words and phrases are accepted as effective communication in both formal and informal situations. “Abbreviation” is a generic term used for shortening our words. But there are several specific types used in day to day writing and speaking. The best way to remember the types, is to remember your A, B, Cs.
Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or phrases that are used in place of whole words. They are only evident in their written form as they are pronounced by saying the whole original word.
|Ave. = Avenue||Jr. = Junior|
|Mr. = Mister||Inc. = Incorporated|
|AZ. = Arizona||Dec. = December|
Acronyms are pronounceable words created by combining the first letters of the words in phrases. Many acronyms are so frequently used that they are now considered words in their own right.
ZIP Code = Zone Improvement Plan code
NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Scuba = Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
AIDS = Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
OPEC = Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
Brevity Codes (sometimes called Initializations) are a combinations of letters, pronounced letter by letter, used to shorten phrases. They are most commonly used in amateur radio, maritime, aviation and military communications. The codes are designed to convey complex information with a few words or codes.
CNN = Cable News Network
UFO = Unidentified Flying Object
USAF = United States Air Force
HTTP = Hypertext Transfer Protocol
HIV = Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Contractions are shortened forms of words in which an apostrophe indicates the deletion of letters.
|Can’t = Can not||I’ll = I will|
|Wouldn’t = Would not
||You’re = You are|
|He’s = He is or He has||Could’ve = Could Have|
- Acronyms and brevity codes should be spelled out the first time used in a written document
- Use a or an based on the pronunciation of the initial sound of abbreviations, acronyms, and brevity codes. (a NASA engineer or an IBM computer)
- When two abbreviations are possible, use only one. (Either Dr. John Smith OR John Smith, MD)
- Acronyms can be words specific to an industry or field. Know your audience to prevent your word becoming jargon.
- Avoid starting a sentence with an abbreviation or contraction – except titles such as Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.
- Use sparingly, correctly, and consistently.
- When in doubt, spell it out.
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