Let's say that there's a simple NGO, or a non-profit organization, called "ABC" (purely hypothetical name, and unrelated to any existing companies or organizations), and made up of two ordinary people. When starting a, say, introductory email, should I go with:

The Association "ABC" is a NGO / non-profit...

or with

The Association of "ABC" is a...


I'm guessing the first option is the correct one, since the second one would imply that "ABC" is some sort of association of NGO / business / etc entities, instead of a simple NGO association of two people. But still, since I'm not entirely sure, I'm asking you folks.


The term association is not used in the general sense of the word (as in, John Doe is associated with Jane Doe). The name of the organization is ABC (just ABC, without anything else). Knowing all of this, should I even begin emails with the following?

The Association (of) ABC is a...

Or should I simply start with this?

ABC is a...

  • 1
    In this context, "association" is usually reserved for the actual name of the company or organization. If you use it in the general sense to refer to two people who are associated with one another you are liable to cause confusion. People will think it's the name of a company. Of course, if it is the name of the organisation, like The Association of Bus Conductors, then go ahead, but remember it's a pronoun and should be capitalized. Jul 28, 2016 at 16:02
  • 1
    My bad, I should have been more informative in my question. Will edit with more details. Jul 28, 2016 at 16:10

2 Answers 2


Writing “the Association ‘ABC’" is incorrect. Here are a few factors to consider:

1) If "association" is being used as a generic term and is not part of the official name, (i) it should not be capitalized and (ii) it should follow the actual title instead of preceding it. You would therefore say "the ABC association” and not “the Association ‘ABC’”.

2) That being said, the word "association" is almost always part of an association’s official name (the NBA, the National Translators Association, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, etc.). Therefore, (i) it should be capitalized and (ii) it cannot be omitted (you cannot simply say "National Translators is a...", because that would be distorting the association’s official name).

3) The official name of the association in question dictates whether the word "association" should be located at the beginning or the end (see examples in point 2) above).

4) If the official name of the organization (in your example, a non-governmental organization or "NGO") does not include the word "association" in it, you should drop the word entirely.

In a nutshell, just go with "ABC is an NGO / non-profit ..."

Hope this helps!

  • It sure does! Point (4) fits perfectly. Jul 28, 2016 at 21:17

Association has got two meanings - the 1st being:

"a group of people organized for a joint purpose". (For example,"The National Association of Probation Officers".)

And the 2nd being:

"a connection or cooperative link between people or organizations". (For example, "He developed a close association with the university".)

Now, I hope you would be able to choose which one to use. If not, then "ABC is a ..." would be the best choice.

  • Thank you for replying. I have, however, chosen Marla Kennedy's answer, since it's verbose, and it seems to cover some of the angles I haven't even thought about. Jul 28, 2016 at 21:18

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