Friday, May 26, 2017

140 Abbreviations & Acronyms (English)

Home >> Grammar Style Guide >> Abbreviations & Acronyms

Understanding Abbreviations

An abbreviation is a shortening of a word for the sake of brevity; hence the word abbreviation. For example, ex. is a common abbreviation for the word example. Notice that the next word in the sentence is not capitalized after the period following an abbreviation.
Abbreviations are typically the first syllable of a long word, but short words can be abbreviated as well. In some cases, an abbreviation can include the second or even less frequently third syllable of a word. Generally speaking, however, since the purpose of an abbreviation is to increase the brevity of a word, phrase, or sentence, then two syllables of an abbreviated word is a standard maximum amount.
Many abbreviations include an apostrophe within them to help distinguish the abbreviation more easily or just how the abbreviation has become commonly written; for example, gov't, which is also a good example of how some abbreviations drop the apostrophe as they become more popular, such as govt or gov.
Some common abbreviations are:

Understanding Acronyms

An acronym is a word comprised of the first letter of each word in a phrase or sentence; for example, SCUBA is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. To be clear, an acronym is a word in which each letter of that word stands for the first letter of another word, and when those words are combined in the acronym, they, along with the acronym itself in some cases, provide a description, summary, or synonym to a certain item or idea.
Commonly used acronyms tend to drop the period marks. So now, the acronym S.C.U.B.A. is better known as simply scuba.
Two other common acronyms include NASA and SWAT.

Inventing Acronyms

Creating an acronym can be a fun and entertaining way to pass the time, but to truly capture all the benefits of a well-formed acronym can be seen as an art form if the systematic approach to designing them is unknown.
First, the acronym requires a subject that it will represent, describe, or otherwise correlate to.
In this example, let's say we're opening a new store that sells women's clothing. The owner wants his business to stand out among the competition, so he hires you to invent an acronym for the business.
The first step is to come up with an easily interchangeable word that somehow relates, no matter how abstractly, to the product or service. By interchangeable, I am referring to a word where you can easily change a letter or two and still have a valid term.
To begin, I choose a word at random; doesn't matter that much, because it will most likely be changed and forgotten in a few moments. I choose the word Price because it has letters that each can be the beginning of a wide assortment of words related to women's shopping business and it is somewhat related to the business model of selling those items, so tying the acronym to an advertising campaign will be less cumbersome or arduous.
Next, I begin playing with words that begin with each letter in the acronym and are loosely related to any aspect of women, shopping, business, or anything remotely relative to the concept, and then list them out. Gerunds are especially useful for joining otherwise unrelated terms in an acronym.
P - price, pretty, petite, purchase, prize, partial, party, pants, pleasing, plenty, payment, plaza, place, placing, pricing, paving, plus, patience, paying, posh, princess, prepare, palace, promote,
R - ready, really, ravishing, relaxed, right, risk, reward, rate, rave, real, repeat, retail, return, realize, relief, running, ruling, ramp, railway, raking, resist, rent, related, revenue, racing, rolling, rush
I - invest, interest, I, intelligent, impossible, integrity, innocence, impurity, in-house, inclined, idea, in, is, isn't, impart, impose, immune, in sync, implies, if, instruct, indebted, ivory, ink, ignore, indicate, increase, irrational, install, in style, in vogue, inches, interior, inline, incorporate, in-house
C - corporate, cut, cost, clever, creative, custom, core, cookie, coupon, collect, can, candid, crave, contact, crazy, clear, combine, color, capture, connect, class, clean, compare, corner, choreograph, clothing, customer, contain, challenge, change, channel, complete
E - easy, excellent, even, escalate, enough, event, express, energy, empty, electric, exchange, exit, empire, estimate, embrace, enchant, entire, extend, expert, entertainment, expensive, expanded, extra, exact, entrance, elegance, emotions, endless, establishment, excite
The lists don't have to be inclusive of every possible word, since the chances are that the acronym itself will probably change.
Begin piecing words together from two lists next to each other that seem the most promising. Personally, I see potential in clothing express or complete elegance.
Working backwards, we need a word starting with the letter I that works with one of those two starter phrases.
To keep it simple, let's pick the word in because it's a good connector in the middle of an acronym.
A little more word mixing gives us: Perfecting Retail In Clothing Elegance
I personally would keep playing with the words to find that perfect blend of words that unites the synergies between all the possible variables involved, but in only ten minutes or so, we managed to come up with at least one possible acronym for PRICE, that could work for a new women's clothing store.

Understanding Latin Abbreviations

Latin abbreviations are archaic and should be avoided in the English language. However, there are times when using a Latin abbreviation will be preferred over its English counterpart. Here are the most common three:
etc. - and so on
et. al. - and company
e.g. - for example
Using Latin in a sentence is a reference to another language, which is something to keep in mind. In English writing, there has been a steady movement towards the preference for translating one language into English and vice versa. So for example, instead of introducing an example with e.g., you might personally prefer writing out for example.