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Questions tagged [acronyms]

Acronyms are words which were created by taking the first letter (or several letters) of each word of a phrase.

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9answers
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Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms / initialisms?

99% of the time, I'm clear on when I should use "a" versus "an." There's one case, though, where people & references I respect disagree. Which of the following would you precede with "a" or "an," ...
274
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10answers
185k views

What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym?

For example, if I wanted to write the equivalent of There are many automated teller machines in this city. Would it be There are many ATMs in this city. or There are many ATM's in this ...
113
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8answers
222k views

Plurals of acronyms, letters, numbers — use an apostrophe or not?

When I was in high school back in the 1970s, I was taught that to make a plural of an acronym, a letter, or a number, one should add an apostrophe and "s". Like I would have written this sentence, "......
44
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3answers
209k views

Difference between an acronym and abbreviation?

TLA is an acronym for "Three Letter Acronym". Is it also an abbreviation, since it abbreviates the original phrase?
21
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1answer
41k views

Using the definite article with acronyms and initialisms

I'm wondering when to use or not to use the definite article, when using acronyms or initialisms in a sentence. Is there a rule for this, or does it depend on the context? For example, let's look at ...
24
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5answers
11k views

Why did they spell it “URL’s”?

I was reading this documentation file of some software and note the plural spelling of this abbreviation is “URL’s”. Why isn’t it “URLs”?
5
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1answer
4k views

Does pronouncing an initialism make it an acronym?

One definition of an acronym is: An abbreviation formed by (usually initial) letters taken from a word or series of words, that is itself pronounced as a word, such as RAM, radar, or scuba; ...
5
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1answer
762 views

Pluralizing abbreviations where the noun is not the last word

For abbreviations - both acronyms and initialisms - where the last word in the abbreviation is the noun, I'm accustomed to adding an 's' with no apostrophe (e.g. ATMs), as described in the answer to ...
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3answers
4k views

Is IOU an abbreviation, an acronym, or an initialism?

IOU stands for I owe you and we pronounce each letter separately. But how do we classify that construction"? abbreviation: a shortened form of a word or phrase acronym: an abbreviation formed from ...
12
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2answers
6k views

“PIN Number” — why do we say it?

We often say "PIN Number", this is part of everyday conversation. But why? PIN stands for Personal Identification Number, so what we're actually saying is Personal Identification Number Number. Is ...
6
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2answers
4k views

Proper to add tense to acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms

What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym? asked about pluralising acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms, but is there a standard way to add verb endings e.g. -ing and -ed (what are these ...
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3answers
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Proper Apostrophe Usage with Initialisms: CCS' or CCS's?

I work with a company whose name is frequently reduced to an initialism (acronym). Let's say the name is "Cool Computer Systems" (CCS). I am engaged in an ongoing, bloody battle with the marketing ...
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4answers
13k views

Pronouncing acronyms

I've noticed that some people in my office spell out "data import tool" as D. I. T., whereas others will say "dit" (like "ditty"). Is trying to pronounce an acronym as a word, as opposed to spelling ...
18
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5answers
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When does an acronym lose its capitalization, e.g. RaDAR 'radar'?

The reason that I ask is because this is happening to LiDAR, and I am inclined to use lidar because it is easier to read.
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4answers
13k views

Proper capitalization of commonly used acronyms

I was always under impression, that acronyms ought to be written all caps. However reading BBC News site very often I see some of the common acronyms written as proper names (first cap). For example "...
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2answers
2k views

Is there a word for an acronym which spells out one of its component words?

The example I am thinking of is GNU, which stands for "GNU's not unix". It may be that there are no other examples. And maybe that's the whole joke. I was just wondering.
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3answers
2k views

Past participle of a verb created from an acronym

Standard GPL would require that those applications be GPL'd (or compatible licensing), whereas LGPL requires only the library's source to be made available. Is the use of words like GPL'd common to ...
14
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7answers
10k views

What is the commonly accepted pronunciation of FAQ?

I hear FAQ(s) pronounced like a word in "FACK(s)", while I go letter by letter. In usage, what is more common? (Similar to SQL vs Sequel)
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5answers
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Is an apostrophe with a decade (e.g. 1920’s) generally considered “incorrect”?

I typically don’t use an apostrophe with plurals in any situation, but I always assumed that the use of an apostrophe in constructions like acronyms: Forty BA’s were given out to students this year....
7
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3answers
2k views

Can “sitcom” be considered an “acronym”? A Syllabic Acronym? Or a Hybrid Acronym?

ACRONYM - An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/acronym Much has been written about acronyms and ...
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4answers
13k views

When did the use of acronyms begin? [closed]

What are some of the earliest acronyms and did they know it was an acronym at the time?
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3answers
2k views

Plural form of the acronym LASER

I'm writing a technical report and must use the plural form of LASER. Seeing as it is an acronym, how does one add the 's'?
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2answers
1k views

Can a word that sounds the same as the way it is spelt be an initialism and an acronym?

Initialisms are pronounced as words and acronyms are spelt letters. However, some words sound the same, said and spelt. e.g. Input Output can be abbreviated as IO. It can be spelt I-O or pronounced ...
33
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4answers
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AM/PM vs a.m./p.m. vs am/pm

I used to think PM/AM was correct, but at some point, I switched to using p.m./a.m. for reasons I can't recall. I know that in practical, casual writing, people tend to use whatever form is most ...
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7answers
638k views

Why use BCE/CE instead of BC/AD?

When I was a kid, I was always taught to refer to years using BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini / year of our Lord). However, I somewhat regularly hear people referring to years as in the CE (...
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5answers
42k views

Opposite of acronym

If U.N. is the acronym of United Nations, then United Nations is the what of U.N.? Is there an opposite of acronym?
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2answers
4k views

Of Yuppies and Yippies and Hippies

While innocently passing by on my way to Big Rep City, I happened to overhear (alright! I was dropping eaves) a dialogue in some podunk Commentary Cafe wherein two fellow ELU consumers were debating ...
13
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3answers
3k views

Why is the plural acronym “CSS” treated as singular?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets, which is a plural phrase. One would say: Cascading Style Sheets are used to provide a central location for all of the stylings of a project. However, it ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Why isn't USA an attributive adjective, (but US is)?

When referring to the country, both US and USA (among other forms), are acceptable. But when used as an adjective, USA sounds wrong. US Army, but not USA Army. Even in the expanded form (for ...
11
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3answers
8k views

Pluralization of acronyms ending in 'S'

What is the proper way to pluralize acronyms ending in the letter 'S'? The particular acronym under study in this case is T.A.R.D.I.S. The various forms I believe are correct are: TARDISes T.A.R.D....
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4answers
10k views

Is it acceptable to omit the last period of an acronym?

After reading this post, I was struck by the omission of the period (full stop) at the end of the acronym given. A.V.C I've never seen this before here in the States. Is it permissible here? In ...
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5answers
7k views

Correct capitalization for “of” in an acronym definition

For an acronym that includes the word "of", do you capitalize its usage within the definition (or expansion) of the acronym For example, in the follow sentence: My coworker Steve suffers from ...
5
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3answers
23k views

Possessive apostrophe at end of an acronym that ends in S [duplicate]

The school where I work has an S when it is an acronym (NEGS) it looks odd with an apostrophe to show ownership e.g. NEGS' tennis team...any thoughts?
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1answer
1k views

How can I tell when an abbreviation is an acronym?

I know an acronym is an abbreviation that can be pronounced as one word, but when is an abbreviation pronounced as one word? Making myself clearer, how do we know whether or not it is pronounced as ...
1
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1answer
2k views

Defining an acronym when using the plural of the term? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym? I am defining an acronym which will be substituted for some unwieldy term in a document. One thing Gary has talked ...
0
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1answer
447 views

Is the term PoWs (POWs) inconsistent with typical acronym pluralization? [duplicate]

Prompted by recent remembrance day celebrations, it seems to me that the term PoWs is inconsistent with pluralization conventions. Runs Batted In --> RBI Prisoners of War--> PoW (shouldn't ...
0
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2answers
489 views

Is “off” also an acronym?

I found the term off used in the following way (technical document): ... a total of two (2 off) Single radio channels ... While the meaning seems pretty clear, I'd like to know what off stands ...
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2answers
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Use of 'the’ in front of acronyms

I tend to not use the word ‘the’ in front of acronyms, but I see this used in documents more and more. REIP provides regional outreach services to Northeastern Ontario. or The REIP provides ...
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4answers
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What does “l. s. d.” stand for?

Here is the original text from Lord Macaulay’s History of England: They are the men of double entry, magnifying routine. In business they have added mechanical device to mechanical device, they ...
11
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4answers
5k views

Are the acronyms FYI, BTW, LOL, WTF now considered “normal” words?

Are these "words" moving out of the elitist slang stage and into popular usage? It is hard for me to tell, because in the techie culture I work in they are ubiquitous. However, I've tried them out ...
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1answer
1k views

Is the meaning of the acronym “FAQ” generally understood? [closed]

When people see the acronym FAQ, I wonder if they really know what it stands for or whether they just understand the concept. Is this true for most native English speakers?
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3answers
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Is it appropriate to treat “FYI” as a noun?

Since FYI stands for "for your information", I would tend to use it like this: FYI, I think the fish has gone bad. In other words, the acronym simply replaces the phrase. However, I've heard FYI ...
8
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2answers
3k views

Is there a word for the definition of an acronym?

I can describe "IMHO" as an acronym for "in my humble opinion." How can I describe the reverse processes of translating the acronym into the actual phrase? That is to say, if "IMHO" is the acronym, ...
7
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2answers
7k views

how do you pronounce URL?

When pronouncing URL, I say (roughly) "you-are-ell." A colleague insists that (roughly) "earl" is more common. Is there a widely accepted pronunciation? Within the computer world or without?
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1answer
997 views

What is the poetic meter of 'O.K.'? [closed]

Is the acronym "O.K." generally pronounced as an iamb or a trochee? Or is it context-dependent?
3
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0answers
159 views

“An” or “A” with acronyms which sound like they start with a vowel? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Should you use "a"n or "a" with acronyms which sound like they start with a vowel when read literally? ...is ...
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4answers
9k views

“An RV” or “a RV”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? I am writing about Random Variables, which I am abbreviating to RV. Should I write 'an RV' (an Arr-Vee) or 'a ...
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3answers
347 views

The curious case of “UChi” and its pronunciation

The Free Dictionary tells me that UCHI is the acronym for The University of Chicago. But if that were the case, shouldn't it be TUOC? I visited the official university website and it says said Our ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Usage of YMMV: Can I use it in day-to-day conversation?

I found the word YMMV in an answer to my question "How important to write down mission statement in learning English? Do I have to?", which I posted on January 6. As YMMV is a quite strange word to me,...
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4answers
816 views

When did initial-origin words (PRONOUNCED AS WORDS) start happening?

Someone was just asking if there were words like lol formed, before, the txtmsg era. Of course there were - for example "laser". However .. in fact what was the earliest example of this in English? ...