Which is proper/acceptable?

Take for instance this sentence:

We would like to use IBM machines.

Now consider that I needed to fully qualify IBM... How do I make this not read strangely?

We would like to use IBM (International Business Machines) machines.


We would like to use International Business Machines (IBM) machines.

(Please note that IBM is not the real acronym but it's similar to what I need to pull off)


I should add that part of my question is that if it's incorrect or less correct to put [Fully qualified name] (Acronym) or [Acronym] (Fully qualified name)

  • In this instance, you might want to use "IBM computers" instead of "IBM machines" to eliminate the redundancy. Aug 4, 2011 at 2:11
  • 1
    It sounds find as is...what's the problem?
    – simchona
    Aug 4, 2011 at 2:12
  • This is a translation situation... My ability to "deviate" is limited... The client doesn't want something dumb sounding, so if I could make this verbiage not be off-putting, it would be ideal... Deviation is a last option...
    – Rikon
    Aug 4, 2011 at 2:19
  • @Rikon If this is a translation, and you've already given us some sentences that are fine, what is the issue? They don't sound "dumb".
    – simchona
    Aug 4, 2011 at 2:22
  • @simchona: I edited and qualified my original question asking to the correctness of putting one before the other... I wasn't direct enough with my original question. Btw, thanks for the help!
    – Rikon
    Aug 4, 2011 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


When using acronyms in writing, the APA Style Guide recommends:

When you do use abbreviations, always give the full name the first time you use it: The Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA) -- unless it is commonly used as a word (AIDs, IQ, URL). Write out the complete name, and then give the abbreviation you will use (as illustrated above), unless the abbreviation is widely recognized (CIA).

IBM is a fairly well-recognized acronym. If you must write out the fully qualified name, however, then the most proper sentence would be:

We would like to use International Business Machines (IBM) machines.

As @Randolf mentioned, though, you might want to avoid calling them "IBM machines" because of the redundancy.

  • To Randolf's point, I agree and will avoid it if I can... It's an odd acronym. Absolutely perfect!
    – Rikon
    Aug 4, 2011 at 2:32

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