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Correct use of Abbreviations

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Many people are confused about the correct way to use an abbreviation. This article hopes to dispel that confusion.

What is an abbreviation?

An abbreviation is a short form of a word. Instead of the word, single alphabets representing the word are used. Sometimes, a full stop (period) is used.

What is the function of an abbreviation?

The purpose or function of an abbreviation is basically for convenience. A word is compressed to a few letters to convey the same meaning as the full word.

When should an abbreviation be used?

It is always a good idea to use an abbreviation in a text when a word is frequently used. For example, instead of writing 'India Study Channel' in a text repeatedly, you can use it just once, mention in parentheses the abbreviation like this: (ISC), and use ISC then each time you are referring to it.

However, sometimes it is necessary to use the full word and not the abbreviation. For example, if you are referring to a doctor, you can use 'Dr.' before his name: Dr. Harish; but later in the text if you are referring to his fees you should not write 'The dr.'s fees are exorbitant' – you should use the full word and write 'The doctor's fees are exorbitant'.

What is the method to abbreviate a word?

It is very simple to make an abbreviation. As mentioned previously, only two or three letters are required.

What is the difference between an abbreviation and an acronym?

The meaning of an acronym is the same as that of an abbreviation – that is, it is a short form of a word. So as such an acronym is no different from an abbreviation. However, an abbreviation is called an acronym when it is pronounced like the word itself. Thus, for example, LASER is an abbreviation for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, but it is also pronounced fully as "Laser". It is thus called an acronym.

Sample Usage

Simple Examples of Abbreviations:
1. Word: Captain
Abbreviation: Capt.

2. Word: Professor
Abbreviation: Prof.

3. Word: Doctor
Abbreviation: Dr.

An abbreviation can also be formed from all the first letters of a group of words.
1. India Study Channnel: ISC

2. Sepal Institute of Mobile Technology: SIMTECH

Looking at the above examples, you will note that the abbreviations begin with a capital letter. However, this is not the case with all abbreviations.
1. Word: Kilometers
Abbreviation: kms

2. Word: Seconds
Abbreviation: secs.

Looking at the above examples, note the use of 's' in the abbreviation to express a word in plural. Thus you can say: The athlete ran the 100m sprint within 10secs.

Finally, note that an abbreviation does not really have a unique way to pronounce it but is generally pronounced like the original word itself. Thus, for example, you will pronounce 'Dr.' as "Doctor" and not as "Drrr"!

As you can see, abbreviations are not difficult to use or understand. Correct use of an abbreviation will greatly help you to write a better quality article.

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