For an acronym or initialism that includes the word "the", should I include "T" in the acronym/initialism?

For example, "Change the world": should the initialism be "CW" or "CTW"?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Dan Bron, tchrist, Phil Sweet, MetaEd, user180089 Jul 28 '16 at 20:42

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Welcome to ELU, Sait. I suspect someone here can answer your question, but it might be easier of you cleaned it up a bit. You mention capitalization in the title, but then the question in the body seems to be about including the "T", not about its case. Your formatting is also a minor issue: your line breaks will only be rendered if you leave an extra blank line. – Benjamin Kuykendall Jul 25 '16 at 6:30
  • Thanks for suggestion. That is my mistake, my english is not good so that I'm a little confused when explain my question. Sorry about that – Sait Jul 25 '16 at 7:00
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    @Rathony I don't think it is a duplicate - that other question is asking about whether to use the definite article before acronyms and initialisms. ("NASA" (no 'the') vs "The FBI" for example.) This question is about definite articles inside acronyms/initialisms. – Max Williams Jul 25 '16 at 7:33
  • @MaxWilliams The question, before the edit was made, was as unclear as it got. I think I should have closed it as primarily opinion-based. What is your thought? – user140086 Jul 25 '16 at 7:38
  • I think it's a fair question (which happens to be badly written). Plus I've answered it now. :) – Max Williams Jul 25 '16 at 7:40

The only initialism I can think of with "the" inside it is RTFM, meaning "Read the f*cking manual". I can't think of any where the T isn't included, but I suppose the probably are some. Actually I just thought of "ROFL", meaning "Rolling On (The) Floor Laughing".

In the case of "Change the world", CTW is definitely a better initialism than "CW", which just sounds like a person's initials (it's too short, in other words, when it's just two letters).

I don't think there are any rules. So, I'd say that you should include the T in the initialism.

BTW, the difference between an initialism and an acronym is that an acronym is said like a normal word, not spelled out. So, "NASA" is an acronym because we say "nah-sah", but "NSA" is an initialism as it's spelled out (ie we say "enn-ess-ay").

  • Thanks you for help me unstand the different between acronym and initialism. So CTW is an initialism, I see it has better meaning than just only "CW" . Though I have seen some initialism that does not include "T" (the): NAACP = National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. So that I'm confused about including "the" in an initialism or not. – Sait Jul 25 '16 at 8:18
  • @Sait Like I said, there's no rules. It's really up to the person/people inventing the initialism/acronym. Whoever invented the NAACP clearly decided (correctly, I think) that it was "nicer" than "NAFTAOCP". Generally I think an ideal acronym/initialism is between 3 and 5 characters long, so if it's longer than that you'd probably want to look for letters to cut out. also, sometimes letters are included or removed in order to make it easier to say. – Max Williams Jul 25 '16 at 8:27

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