I've defined abbreviation UDES representing untimed discrete-event systems. Now, I need to talk about the larger class of discrete-event systems, which includes the former one.

I'm wondering whether I can directly use DES abbreviation (because I've already defined UDES) or I have to first define DES as discrete-event systems then using its abbreviated form (because it's an independent concept whose abbreviation must be firstly defined).

  • 2
    If you don't define DES, it might default to the very widely-known Data Encryption Standard in the minds of your readers.
    – Lawrence
    Jun 13, 2017 at 11:11
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about clarity of writing (style).
    – Drew
    Jun 13, 2017 at 13:50
  • I agree with both Lawrence and Drew. :-)
    – Hellion
    Jun 14, 2017 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


As a reader, I'd personally find it confusing if DES were not defined in its own right, although I'll grant that this could depend on context. If readers are likely to already be familiar with DES as an acronym for discrete-event systems, then it might be appropriate to omit the definition where space is limited.

If DES is likely to be unfamiliar, one option is to only introduce the acronym DES for discrete-event systems, and to refer to untimed distrete-event systems as untimed DES. Another option is to first introduce discrete-event systems, and then to subsequently introduce the acronym UDES for untimed DES.

  • Unfortunately, UDES comes first (in the abstract), then DES does. I better assume that DES is a familiar concept and only introduce UDES.
    – User
    Jun 13, 2017 at 8:55
  • 2
    It would also depend on the proximity of the two 'introductions'. If you introduce DES in the same paragraph, it is easier for people to see the connection between the two. When DES is introduced a little further into the paper, I would write it in full, first, as it is bothersome to backtrack to the original definition. However, I would say that in an abstract, it is not necessary. Jun 13, 2017 at 9:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.