The title is self-explanatory, but let's consider the following abbreviations:

GI: gastro-intestinal

DA : dopamine (the neurotransmitter)

Is the following sentence correct? (Would you be insulted to read it)?

Factors X and Y affect GI DA levels.

Non-english native speaker BTW.Thanks!

  • 1
    Your example is hardly from mainstream English. I wouldn't use '1010 acid' in most registers, but it was a very common abbreviation in a lab I worked in some 45 years ago. There's no overall authority governing the acceptability of the use of various abbreviations, including consecutive ones. Different authorities will have different style preferences. If you're not constrained by picky paymasters, prioritise clarity above avoidance of outlandishness, then conciseness. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 10 '14 at 20:47
  • WTF! IMHO anyone who casually drops in the digit 2 to save writing out the word two probably doesn't need to worry too much about more "debatable" usages. – FumbleFingers Dec 10 '14 at 21:03
  • @FumbleFingers hahaha fortunately I understand the 2 consecutive abbreviations you used thanks for your input! – Benoit_11 Dec 10 '14 at 21:17
  • @Benoit_11: As would probably most users here on ELU. Presumably you know your own field - even as a non-specialist I'm perfectly familiar with the word dopamine, but I wouldn't have expected DA there. It might be familiar to your target readership, but it certainly looks oddly distracting in a primarily text context (as opposed to formulae, charts, prescriptions, etc.). Whatever - at the end of the day I think this must be a matter of opinion (or your chosen style guide). – FumbleFingers Dec 10 '14 at 21:32
  • Those two particular abbreviations sound way too informal to me, and I wouldn't do it for either a journal article or a student research paper. The GI tract is long. Are you referring to duodenal dopaminergic receptors or dopamine secretion?? Here are two abbreviations in sequence which look fine. Glucagon and related gene products (GLP-1, GLP-2, glicentin, oxyntomodulin). If it looks iffy to you (and it should), write it out. – anongoodnurse Dec 11 '14 at 0:13

It depends on your audience. If both abbreviations will be readily understood by your audience, there's no problem with using them both. However, if the two abbreviations will confuse your audience or blend into one another, then it's better to spell out at least one of them.


I wouldn't be insulted but I would find it strange if I read that in a Textbook of Gastrointestinal Diseases. It's very common in the U.S. to use abreviations on the patient's chart, and sometimes there are too many of them. But they are standard abreviations known to any U.S. trained doctor, and many of them are never used in textbooks. In your particular case, if you use too many abreviations or abreviations that are unknown to your audience, your text may not be fully understood, to say the least.

  • There are never enough abbreviations. 33 yo SWF px w/ freq. interm. RUQ pain x 6°, +N, +V x3, -D/other. +worse p FF. -Hx GBD. That's, like, 4 too many words. MOAR abbreviations, please. – anongoodnurse Dec 11 '14 at 0:20

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