Where I'm working we have an acronym spelled "was" and I'm wondering is there a way to clearly distinguish it from the verb? According to here "acronyms...usually do not require periods" so is this a good time to make an exception? It's already been entrenched in the corporate culture to pronounce it as "was" but in these situations do people say the letters of the acronym i.e. "w-a-s"?

  • Like other acronyms, in capitals?
    – Mitch
    Jul 4, 2013 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


Your source states:

Acronyms (abbreviations [usually made up of the first letter from a series of words] which we pronounce as words, not a series of letters) usually do not require periods: NATO, NOW, VISTA, LASER, SCUBA, RADAR. Abbreviations we pronounce by spelling out the letters may or may not use periods and you will have to use a dictionary to be sure: FBI, NAACP, NCAA, U.S.A., U.N.I.C.E.F., etc.

Note that the acronyms still use capital letters even when they don't use periods. This serves to distinguish an acronym like WAS from the word was in writing. Only the most commonly-used acronyms (laser, radar) are written like ordinary words, because they effectively become ordinary words.

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