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Style Chapter 7: Abbreviations
vandanagoyal wrote in visionindia2047
 Spell out the names of government bureaus and agencies, well-known organizations, companies, etc. on first reference. In later references, use short forms like the agency or , the government or the company .

General tendency should be to not use abbreviations.They can be confusing. You may use them selectively if you are sure the readers will understand them. The problem often is where to draw the line. For a person familiar with the subject, it is sometimes easy to assume that the abbreviation is widely used and readers will know it. But it is better to be cautious and assume nothing and give full name of the agency in each article.

Some general guidelines for use of abbreviations are:

  • If certain names or expressions are well known like FBI, NATO, DNA, BBC, KGB, BJP they can be used. For other organisations it is better to give the full name and initials in bracket on the first reference and later to mention either the abbreviation or just the company or the agency. For eg. The EU just as The Union . If the name does not appear in the text again, there is no need to give the initials in bracket.
  • Units of measurement should be abbreviated as in g, cm, or mph. Units of temperature should be  written as °F and °C ,year as AD and BC and time as am and pm.
  • Article the should be used with names of companies as in the BBC. For a and an, you should go by the sound; an NBC report, a CNN reporter.
  • For the names of companies and organisations, write them like they do themselves. When referring to the company later in text, do not say co. but company.
  • People also should be written as they prefer themselves. Generally write them with stops after initials as in O.J. Simpson or A.B.Vajpayee.
  • Do not  abbreviate expressions like One day international (ODI )  or National security guard (NSG) .
  • It is permissible to write MP for member of parliament and MLA for member of legislative assembly.
  • Do not precede a name with a title of a degree and then follow it with the abbreviation for that degree. It should be Dr. Priya Sen  and not Dr. Priya Sen Ph.D.  It is common in India to refer to a Ph.D. as Doctor. This can be misleading. Dr. Amitabh Bachchan or Dr. B.K.Modi can be mistaken for brain surgeons. It is necessary that they be referred as Mr. B.K.Modi, Ph.D. Finance or Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, Honorary Ph.D.
  • For academic degreesuse upper case and lower case where needed like in MPhil, PhD. Others should use  period after each letter as in M.D., C.A., M.A.
  • Very commonly used abbreviations which are pronounced as words should be  written without the stops in between like Unesco and Scuba. Infact these abbreviations are so popular that most people do not even know Scuba stands for 'Self contained underwater breathing apparatus'.
  • The character '&' should be used in names of companies where it is part of the name as in L&T or D&G.
  • Names of countries should  preferably be spelt out as in United Kingdom. It is acceptable to say England but only use one or the other in the whole text.
  • Titles should be written in full as in Professor, Colonel.
  • Do not use phonic abbreviations like thru (for through) and tho (for though). It gives the impression of careless work.
  • Colloquial abbreviations like ASAP (as soon as possible) and BTW (by the way) are also not acceptable.
©2008 VisionIndia2047

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