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Abbreviations & Acronyms, Words

Note 75 – Acronyms

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – If you would prefer to dive straight into note 75, then please read on…


Today I ran a couple of workshops at work and before each one started, I handed out an acronyms sheet that I had previously prepared.  This proved useful to everyone and it also gave me the idea for today’s blog. 

An acronyms is formed from the first letter of other words e.g. GAAP for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and SOX for Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  If it can be read as a word, then it’s an acronym; however, if it cannot be read as a work e.g. NHS for National Health Service, then it’s an abbreviation.

Sometimes people forget to specify in their writing, what the acronym stands for.  This can frustrate the reader.  A good rule of thumb is to spell out what the acronym means, the first time you mention it, then it can be used as just the acronym thereafter.  It is also good practice to add a list in an index or similar for people to refer to if they forget. 

I have also found a very good acronym finder with more than a million human-edited definitions.  Please see link below:

It’s actually quite fun to use – I even found out that there is an acronym for ‘SANDRA’.  Remember when using it, that it is human-edited so there is no guarantee that all entries are valid.  It is, however, useful to double check things. 

According to John Seely in his book Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation, “acronyms are treated just like ordinary words in a sentence”.  This can be all in capitals or just the first letter in capitals and the rest small letters e.g. Acca or Nhs.  It can also be pronounced like a word e.g. Aids (acquired immune defiency system).

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog.  Feel free to comment if you wish.

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

John Seely  The Oxford A-Z of Grammar & Punctuation, USA


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Please let me know what you think of my blog - constructive comments welcome. Have a great day Sandra Freelance Writer


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