For example, having one paragraph where the abbreviation XYZ is used a number of times. Then, in the following paragraph, having the full version Xxxx Yyyy Zzzz several times. How about in the same paragraph?

Note: I prefer to avoid abbreviations, and that's what I do whenever I can. However, I'm also trying to reduce the number of lines for a page limit. By abbreviating, I can sometimes remove a line.

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    From a style perspective, it's best to be consistent throughout. Pick one or the other, just remember to introduce the full meaning of the abbreviation/acronym the first time you use it (if you go with using the short form.) – Roddy of the Frozen Peas Sep 29 '12 at 16:29
  • ...and often we see the full form used once at the beginning, then the abbreviation used for the rest of the document. – GEdgar Sep 29 '12 at 17:55

IIRC, most style guides recommend expansion during the first use with the abbreviation within parentheses, and the use of the abbreviation thereafter. The Wikipedia page for acronyms suggests something similar:

The expansion is typically given at the first occurrence of the acronym within a given text, for the benefit of those readers who do not know what it stands for. The capitalization of the original term is independent of it being acronymized, being lowercase for a term such as frequently asked questions (FAQ) but uppercase for a proper name such as the United Nations (UN).

In addition to expansion at first use, some publications also have a key listing all acronyms or initialisms used therein and what their expansions are.

The Guardian's Style Guide also concurs.

| improve this answer | |
  • +1 This is the norm, or at least the most common style. – Kris Sep 30 '12 at 8:20
  • The Economist's Style Guide also concurs. – OJFord Feb 23 '14 at 19:45

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