"Federal Bureau of Investigation" becomes FBI, instead of FBOI. Meanwhile, "Theory of Mind" becomes ToM or TOM, instead of TM.

Is there any rule regarding inclusion of articles, conjunctions, and prepositions in acronyms? What should I do with such phrases below, then?

  • "And Then There Were None" - ATTWN or TTWN
  • "The Lord of the Rings" - TLOTR, LOR, or LR
  • "The Minority Report" - TMR or MR
  • "A Thousand Splendid Suns" - ATSS or TSS
  • 1
    People use what they need in forming acronyms and initialisms. It's as simple as that. Usually articles and the like are dropped unless they help the end result in some way. "EPCOT: Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow". Sometimes even second letters of words are included if it helps the shape in some way.
    – Robusto
    May 31, 2015 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


I am not aware of any specific formal rule governing when to include the initials of minor words in acronym. Informally, in my experience, initials of minor words are added when they reduce ambiguity, or make the acronym easier to pronounce or understand. And, as in your first paragraph, I often see minor words in lower case and more important words in upper case.

  • 2
    I think the only "rule" is that words like of and to are optional :^)
    – J.R.
    May 31, 2015 at 11:07
  • So it is up to the person who makes it. I wondered if there was any way to generate acronyms from random texts...
    – Thunderweb
    Jun 3, 2015 at 16:48

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