A is for Acronym


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Do you know what HEA and HFN stand for? I do not write romantic fiction and I learned this in a blog. How many other acronyms in our industry are out there that we may or may not know the meaning of? Let’s see how many you can name. I’ll start with an easy one . . . WIP (Work in Progress) what is yours?

Acronym or initialsims are abbreviations that are formed using the initial components in a phrase or name. These components may be individual letters (as in CEO) or parts of words (as in Benelux). There is no universal agreement on the precise definition of the various terms, nor on written usage. While popular in recent English, such abbreviations have historical use in English as well as other languages. As a type of word formation process, acronyms and initialisms are viewed as a subtype of blending. – Free Online Dictionary by Farlex.

Now, for using acronyms properly in our writing:

Per Wikkipedia: Acronyms are abbreviations formed, usually, from the initial letters of words in a phrase.

Capitalization: Some acronyms are written with all capital letters, some with a mixture of capitals and lower-case letters and some are written as common nouns. Acronyms whose letters are pronounced individually (which is what some call “initialisms”, for example FBI, EU) are written in capitals.

Spacing: The letters of acronyms should not be spaced.

Plurals: Plural acronyms are written with a lower-case s after the abbreviation, without an apostrophe, unless full stops are used between the letters (e.g. ABCs or A.B.C.’s). Note that Wikipedia generally avoids using full stops in upper-case acronyms.

Unless specified in the “Exceptions” section below, an acronym should be written out in full the first time it is used on a page, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses, e.g. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Common exceptions to this rule are post-nominal initials because writing them out in full would cause clutter. To save space, in “small spaces” (infoboxes, navboxes and tables), acronyms do not need to be written out in full. When not written out in full on the first use on a page, an acronym should be linked. An unambiguous acronym can be linked as is, but an ambiguous acronym should be linked to its expansion.

Exceptions:

Ship names – Abbreviations in the names of ships (e.g. HMS and USS) should not be written out in full.

Time zones – Abbreviations for time zones (e.g. GMT and UTC) should not be written out in full in times.

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11 thoughts on “A is for Acronym

  1. Great post. In the Army, or probably the military in general, acronyms are so common place. I still remember when my husband became a recruiter in the Army and when he came home from work one night he talked about his PMS. I shook my head and did a double take. I thought, “Since when does a guy have PMS?” So I asked him. He sort of laughed and said that it meant Production Management System. Acronyms and the Army go hand in hand. I just wanted to share a funny little story about one. 🙂

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  2. There are some authors/editors/agents who DO NOT like fiction to be labeled Sci-Fi but rather SF (Speculative Fiction). There are many acronyms and, IMHO, they’re not all necessary, because, OMG don’t you think we can focus on simplicity? Minimalism, FTW.

    TNX.

    Tonette dela Luna LOL ;-p
    ~~~
    Blog: Textploits of the Writerly Persuasion – http://tonettedelaluna.wordpress.com/
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/TonettedelaLuna
    FB: https://www.facebook.com/TonettedelaLuna

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  3. Well, it’s not really an acronym, but I remember our headmaster telling us in primary school that R.S.V.P. (respondez s’il vous plait) does NOT mean “Remember to send vedding presents!”

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