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Canadian acronyms and initialisms

An English-language quiz on Canadian initialisms and acronyms.Get to know Canada through acronyms and initialisms! Both are abbreviations formed from the first letters of a series of words, but there’s a difference: acronyms are pronounced as words, while initialisms are sounded out letter by letter.Each of the questions below highlights an important Canadian acronym or initialism. See if you know what each one stands for.See our article called "abbreviations: acronyms and initialisms" for more information on this topic.1. RCMPRoyal Canadian Mounted PoliceRoyal Canadian Military Police2. CBCCanadian Broadcasting CompanyCanadian Broadcasting Corporation3. OCCanadian Olympic CommissionOfficer of the Order of Canada4. CUSMACanada-United States-Mexico AssociationCanada-United States-Mexico Agreement5. GGPAAGovernor General’s Performing Arts AwardsGovernor General’s Progressive Artist Awards6. OCOLOffice of the Commissioner of Official LanguagesOffice for the Conservation of Official Languages7. RCAFRoyal Canadian Air ForceRoyal Canadian Army Forces8. RVFRoyal Victoria FoundationRendez-vous de la Francophonie9. NATONorth American Treaty OrganizationNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization10. RCGSRoyal Canadian Geographical SocietyRoyal Canadian Geological Survey  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 8,504

Abbreviations abound

An English quiz on abbreviations.Abbreviations (shortened forms of full terms) are everywhere, so we should know how to deal with them in our writing. Try this quiz to see how you measure up!1. Which example illustrates the correct punctuation to use with a person’s initials?L. D. MillsL, D, MillsL… D… Mills2. How do you correctly punctuate the Latin abbreviation meaning "for example"? Which abbreviation is used before the name of an individual who has received an honorary degree?Dr.Hon. Dr.No abbreviation is used.4. Which sentence uses the correct abbreviation for the province of Ontario in formal writing?The film Snow Cake was filmed in Wawa, ON.The film Snow Cake was filmed in Wawa, Ont.The film Snow Cake was filmed in Wawa, O.N.5. Which sentence is correct?They have given out ticket #1 to 100.They have given out ticket Nos. 1 to 100.They have given out ticket Num. 1 to 100.6. Which sentence illustrates the correct way to write specific time in a time zone?The estimated arrival time was 20:14 PST.The estimated arrival time was 20:14 Pacific Standard Time.The estimated arrival time was 20:14 Pacific-Standard-Time7. Which example illustrates the correct way to represent a percentage amounting to one half, using the per cent symbol?50 %50%0.50 %8. How is the word "latitude" abbreviated?latt.lattlat9. What is another correct way to express "eight metres"?8 m8m8 M10. Which of the following abbreviations can be used freely in the body of a text?Assoc.Inc.Corp.  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 6,910

abbreviations: acronyms and initialisms

A writing tip on the difference between acronyms and initialisms.
Acronyms and initialisms are both types of abbreviations that are formed from the first letters of a group of words, without spaces (and usually without periods). On this page Pronunciation Capitalization Exceptions Redundancy Articles Acronyms Initialisms Pronunciation Although they are formed the same way, acronyms and initialisms are pronounced differently. An acronym is pronounced as a word: NAFTA  (North American Free Trade Agreement; pronounced naff-ta) NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization; pronounced nay-toe) UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund; pronounced u-ni-seff) In an initialism, each letter is pronounced separately or sounded out: CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company; pronounced see-bee-see) RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police; pronounced are-see-em-pea) UFO (Unidentified Flying Object; pronounced u-eff-oh) Capitalization As a general rule, use upper-case letters for acronyms or initialisms in their entirety, even if some of the component words or their parts are not normally capitalized (unless the organization concerned prefers lower case): CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) OSSTF (Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation) FORTRAN (formula translation) CISTI (Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information) Exceptions One exception to the above rule occurs in the case of common-noun acronyms treated as full-fledged words; these are written entirely in lower case without periods: radar laser scuba snafu A second exception involves acronyms of company names that are formed from more than the initial letters of the words they represent. Usually, in that case, only the first letter of the acronym is capitalized: Cameco (Canadian Mining and Energy Corporation) Corel (Cowpland Research Laboratory) Nabisco (National Biscuit Company) Redundancy When using acronyms or initialisms that include an abbreviation for number, do not repeat the word number after the abbreviation. Either write the expression out in full, or use the abbreviated form on its own. social insurance number or SIN (not SIN number) personal identification number or PIN (not PIN number) International Standard Book Number or ISBN (not ISBN number) Articles (the, a/an) The rules concerning the use of an article before the abbreviation are different for acronyms and initialisms. Acronyms Usually, an article is not used before an acronym: The members of NATO (not the NATO) rejected the idea. Children often collect for UNICEF (not the UNICEF) at Halloween. NAFTA (not The NAFTA) came into effect in 1994. However, if the acronym is used as a modifier, it may be preceded by the definite or indefinite article: the NATO recommendation a UNICEF donation box a NAFTA Certificate of Origin When the indefinite article is used before an acronym, the choice of form (a or an) depends on pronunciation, not on spelling; in other words, use a if the acronym begins with a consonant sound, and an if it begins with a vowel sound: a NATO decision (a before the consonant sound n) a UNICEF project (a before the consonant sound y, as in you) an ACTRA award (an before the vowel sound ă) Initialisms The definite article is used before many initialisms (including those representing the name of an organization): The RCMP investigated the crime. A private member’s bill was introduced by the MP for my riding. John brought the CD back to the store. But the definite article is omitted before an initialism representing a substance, method or condition: A ban has been called for on products containing TCEP (not the TCEP). Ayesha is taking a course in CPR (not the CPR). A child with ADHD (not the ADHD) can benefit from behaviour management techniques. In the case of the indefinite article, since initialisms are abbreviations pronounced letter by letter, you must go by the pronunciation of the first letter when choosing whether to use a or an. If the first letter begins with a consonant sound when pronounced, then choose the article a: a CBC production (C starts with the sound s as in see) a PhD candidate (P starts with the sound p as in pea) a UN spokesperson (U starts with the sound y as in you) a YMCA (Y starts with the sound w as in why) But if the first letter in the initialism starts with a vowel sound when pronounced, then choose the article an: an FM station (F starts with the sound ĕ as in eff) an HIV treatment (H starts with the sound ā as in aitch) an MP (M starts with the sound ĕ as in em) an RCMP officer (R starts with the sound ä as in ar)
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 4,914

unidentified flying object, UFO

A writing tip on the abbreviation for the phrase unidentified flying object (UFO).
The initialism UFO stands for unidentified flying object and is pronounced as its three letters. UFO is written without periods between the letters and is preceded by the article a, not an. The pilot reported sighting a UFO over Vegreville. The plural is UFOs, rarely UFO’s, a spelling that should be reserved for the possessive. Does Malcolm truly believe in UFOs? The News-Record had a front-page story about the UFO’s arrival.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 4,679

United Nations, UN, U.N.

A writing tip on how to write United Nations and its abbreviation, UN.
The United Nations is considered a singular entity and takes a singular verb. The United Nations has offices worldwide, including in New York, Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna. Note that the article the often precedes United Nations but is not capitalized. It can be very dangerous to work for the United Nations in developing countries. UN is preferred to U.N. as an abbreviation for United Nations. The abbreviation UN is preceded by the article a (not an). Lester B. Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for proposing the creation of a UN peacekeeping force.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 2,089

The Diversity of the Abbreviated Form

An article on various abbreviated forms.
Gregg Joe (Terminology Update, Volume 30, Number 3, 1997, page 27) The underlying reason for presenting this article is to respond in part to a growing number of difficult questions directed at the Translation Bureau by clients on the recommended spelling of new abbreviations or existing ones that have traditionally been lexicalized in a number of different ways, depending on the source consulted: written entirely in capital letters; written with the first letter capitalized only; written in lowercase; written with periods and intervening spaces between letters; written with periods without intervening spaces between letters; any combination of the above forms. Language specialists required to advise on the latest trends in usage must first convince the followers of the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage (1976) that the practice of putting periods and spaces between the letters of every abbreviation is now considered outmoded in all but a few circumstances. Without the benefit of an official arbiter of usage such as the Académie française in France, researchers must somehow legitimize the present trend to drop any non-essential punctuation susceptible of slowing down the keying and sorting of information. And, in the interest of providing bias-free advice, they must acknowledge the disparate usages favoured by various sources which sometimes advocate a particular spelling, and—what is worse—sometimes more than one spelling, much to the dissatisfaction of users yearning for a definitive answer. As unofficial arbiters of usage, they must also, somehow, discourage the practice of duplicating abbreviations that already stand for other things. For instance, according to TERMIUM®, the linguistic data bank of the Government of Canada, there are already 15 different concepts associated with the polysemous abbreviation bsFootnote 2 (also written BS or B.S.), not to mention the vulgar one. Finally, language specialists must somehow reconcile the unconventional yet catchy spellings promoted by various corporations, spellings that often seem to run counter to conventional rules of grammar and usage. Most language professionals remain partial to their reference works of choice. They feel that consistency can be established, simply by referring faithfully to the same title. However, many of them may not be aware that their preferred choice is outdated or that consulting more than one source often leads to contradictory results. They may not even be aware of the reasons for maintaining or omitting punctuation and hence are unable to apply basic typographical principles when required to spell new abbreviations being admitted into the language everyday. To illustrate the problem, the survey below highlights variations in the treatment of selected abbreviations in current dictionaries and language manuals. Each abbreviation is followed by a two-letter reference label that identifies the source of a particular usage. It is understood that the absence of a label merely signifies reference to the base source, the new Gage Canadian Dictionary (1997), without implying any preference in regard to reliability. Reference and source labels are decoded at the end of the article. Various spellings AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or A.A. (American Airlines)NY (Alcoholics Anonymous/American Airlines) The ABCs or A B C’sNY (i.e. (That Is), the basics) of word processing. AIDS or Aids (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)FM (The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage) OA (The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations) (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) AM (amplitude modulation) (amplitude modulation, i.e. (That Is), radio), a.m./p.m. (Post Meridiem) (time)AP (The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual) AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) GR (The Gregg Reference Manual) PR (Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage). Also acceptable as time designations: A.M. (Ante Meridiem)/P.M. (Post Meridiem)AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) HW (Handbook for Writers) NY PR (Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage). In reference to time, GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) recommends the use of caps only in headlines and tables. AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) condones the use of caps in business forms and advertisements. AP (Associated Press) (Associated Press), A&P (Great Atlantic) or A.&P. (Pacific Tea Company Incorporated)NY (short for Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc. (Incorporated)) or at. no. (atomic number)GR (The Gregg Reference Manual) (atomic number) AT&T (American Telephone and Telegraph Company) (no spaces) or At and T American Telephone and Telegraph Company (American Telephone and Telegraph Co. Company)CP (Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors) AWOL (absent without leave)GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) NY (absent without leave). CP (Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors) recommends AWL (absent without leave), but GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) recommends the following: A.W.O.L. (absent without leave), a.w.o.l. (absent without leave), A.W.L. (absent without leave) Btu (British thermal unit)AP (The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual) GR (British thermal unit) or B.T.U. (British thermal unit)GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) NY CAA (Canadian Automobile Association)GR (The Gregg Reference Manual) or C.A.A. (Canadian Automobile Association) (Canadian Automobile Association) CD (compact disc)GR (The Gregg Reference Manual) or C.D. compact disc (compact disc) c.o.d. (cash on delivery)AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) (cash on delivery/collect on delivery) or C.O.D.AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) HW (Handbook for Writers) (no hyphens if written out in full) ESP (extrasensory perception)GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) GR (The Gregg Reference Manual) or E.S.P. (extrasensory perception)GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) (extrasensory perception) EST (Eastern Standard Time)PR (Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage) or E.S.T. (Eastern Standard Time)PR (Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage) or est (Eastern Standard Time)PR (Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage) (Eastern Standard Time) f.o.b. (free on board)AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) or F.O.B. (free on board)AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) or fob (free on board)ST (Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of Style) (free on board) IBM (International Business Machines)GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) GR (The Gregg Reference Manual) or I.B.M. (International Business Machines)NY (International Business Machines) IOU (I Owe You)GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) GR (The Gregg Reference Manual) or i.o.u. (I Owe You)NY IQCS (intelligence quotient)GC (Gage Canadian Dictionary) GR (The Gregg Reference Manual) or I.Q. (intelligence quotient)CS (The Chicago Manual of Style) NY (intelligence quotient) M-G-M (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Incorporated)NY or MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Incorporated)GA (The Gazette Style) (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.) MP (member of Parliament) or M.P.NY (member of Parliament or military police) mph (miles an/per hour - no periods)GM or m.p.h.CP (Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors) NY NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) WT or NatoFM No 3, No. 3GM HW MW WT, no. 3CS HW PR PO box GA (The Gazette Style) or P.O. boxGC (post office box), P. and O. (Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.) Q and A T or Q. and A.NY (Questions and Answers) R & DT (Research and Development), but according to the GM, GR and CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing), no spaces are recommended: R&D rpm GC GR or r.p.m.CP (Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors) or r/mST (revolutions per minute) vs. CP (Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors) MW NY (versus); but vs increasingly seen; "v", should only be used in legal documents Types of abbreviated forms There are many types of abbreviated forms (or abbreviations): acronyms, initialisms, codes, contractions, truncated (or shortened) forms, and symbols. Note however that CS makes no distinction between initialisms and acronyms; both forms are labelled "acronyms." According to the new 1997 edition of CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing), an acronym is a pronounceable and hence memorable word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of related words, but pronounced as if it were an independent word, e.g., AIDS (or Aids (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)OA), CANDUEC (Editing Canadian English), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), GATT, radwaste (radioactive waste), algol (algorithmic language), Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization) and UNESCO. Some publishers favour the use of initial capitals only for acronyms representing the name of corporations and international organizations, e.g., Alcoa, Amex (American Stock Exchange), Anzac, Benelux, CusoEC (Editing Canadian English), Inco, Nabisco, Sunoco. USEFUL RECOMMENDATIONS AND REMARKS As a general rule, no abbreviation should be used unless its long form has already been given in the text. Acronyms and initialisms Acronyms no longer require periods, nor are they preceded by the definite article. Furthermore, some acronyms are no longer even written in caps, having lost their proper name status, e.g., algol (algorithmic language). Note also that acronyms representing administrative units are generally written entirely in caps, without periods, e.g., CIDA. Acronyms are commonly used in computer sciences, government bureaucracy, the military, pop culture and in sports. An initialism is formed from the initial letters only of a series of words, where the letters are pronounced individually, e.g., AFL-CIOEC (Editing Canadian English), BLT (bacon-lettuce-and-tomato), CBC, CRTC, EC, ESP, NDP, NHL, YMCA, IQ, PCBs, UFO. In general, do not use spacing between periods in initialisms, e.g., Ph.D., B.C., U.S.A. In addition, CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing) and GR recommend no periods between letters of an acronym or initialism. In general, initialisms representing administrative units generally take upper-case letters, e.g., TSD (Terminology and Standardization Directorate). Furthermore, initialisms representing the names of administrative units and organizations usually take the definite article, whereas those representing a substance, method or object do not (e.g., The RCMP is under investigation). Initialisms also include initials such as those in O. J. SimpsonHW (spacing required in conjunction with names). Periods (but no space) are required in initials of 3 letters or more: W.A.C. Bennett, P.G.T. Beauregard. Note, however, the growing practice of omitting spaces between individual initials, e.g., C.D. Howe, J.P. Getty, despite MW advice to the contrary. Note also that GR does not recommend the use of spaces between initials at all. If a person is identified by initials rather than by a full name, the trend is to put no periods between the initials, e.g., PET (Pierre Elliot Trudeau). To form the plural of initialisms, simply add a lowercase "s", e.g., ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), RRSPs (registered retirement savings plans). Add an apostrophe only where a lone "s" might lead to confusion, e.g., TA’s (teaching asistants), POW’s (prisoners of war), c.o.d. (cash on delivery)’s (cash on delivery). To form the plural of abbreviations other than initialisms and units of measure, simply add a lowercase "s", e.g., bldgs., Bros., figs., nos., vols. Exceptions: SS. (saints), pp. (pages). Computers In the world of computers and the Internet, unpunctuated acronyms and initialisms are appearing in greater frequency without intervening spaces: ASCII, BASIC, BTW (by the way), CD-ROM, DOS, FYI (for your information), LAN, WWW, etc. Call letters The call letters of radio and television stations require uppercase letters, but no spacing between letters, e.g., ABC, BBC, CBC-FM, CBS, CHOM-FM, CITY-TV-Channel 15, CTV, NBC, PBS, WBZ-TV, YTV, etc. Exception to the all-caps rule are radio stations attributed with an epithet, e.g., The Bear, Magic 100, Mix 96, etc. City codes Certain large cities or segments of large cities with compound names are often informally abbreviated by travel industry specialists (2- or 3-letter city codes) and local residents in fax or e-mail transmissions for the sake of brevity: BA (Buenos Aires), KC (Kansas City), KL (Kuala Lumpur), LA/LAX (Los Angeles), MTL (Montréal), SFO (San Francisco), NDG (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, part of Greater Montréal), TMR (Town of Mount Royal, also part of Greater Montréal). Note that GA (The Gazette Style) prefers the punctuated form for parts of Montréal. Also, as a general rule in formal prose, do not abbreviate the names of countries, provinces, states, cities or streets in a running text. Compass directions (or points) (N, S, E, W) Canada Post Corporation does not advocate the use of periods or any punctuation whatsoever on envelopes, parcels and labels. According to AP and AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook), periods are required for compass points (N. S. E. W. etc.) used to indicate directional ends of a street or city divisions (quadrants) in a numbered address. The compass point may be placed either before the street name or after it, e.g., 555 East 5th Avenue, 56-5678 Pine St. N. However, AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook), CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing) and GR all recommend that compass points not be abbreviated if they precede a street name, e.g., 75 East 14th Street (not 75 E 14th Street). In addition, CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing), GR and MW recommend that periods should not be used after compass points that follow a street address, (e.g., 75 Booth St. NCA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing), 75 - 6thAve. SW). If the compass point represents a quadrant of a city and it follows the street name, the abbreviation may be used without the terminating period or full stop, (e.g., NW TorontoCA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing)). Courtesy and personal titles Courtesy titles that are abbreviated, such as Amb. (ambassador), Dr., Esq. (esquire), Gov., Hon., Jr., Mr., Mrs., Ms., Messr. (plural of Mr.), Prof., Rev (Reverend)., or Sen. (senator), Sr.—with the exception of Miss—require a terminating period in American usage. Some British and Canadian usages still prefer the omission of the period. CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing) recommends the use of periods. When a civil or military title is used with the last name alone, write the title out, e.g., General Boyle not Gen. Boyle. Also, if the title Hon. is preceded by the definite article, write the title out. MW tolerates the abbreviation even with the definite article. Note the absence of an abbreviation for Miss(es), hence no terminating period. Also note the plural form for Mr. (Messrs.), Mrs. (Mmes.), Ms. (Mses. or Mss.). Days Days should only be abbreviated (with terminating period) in business forms, tables, charts and calendars: Sun. Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Latin abbreviations Still commonly seen in footnote material, Latin abbreviations require periods in the appropriate places: ad val. cf. e.g. et al. etc. ibid. i.e. (That Is) n.b. op. cit. q.v. viz. vs. (or v.)Footnote 3 But no periods for the following: ad hoc ergo idem re sic Metric measurements Metric measurements, chemical symbols and mathematical abbreviations (mm, kg, NaCl, tan) NEVER take a period; all other non-metric/SI measurements (ft., yd., oz., bd. ft., lb., min.) may take a period, depending on editorial style. According to ST, "at." (atomic) and "in." (inches) should take a terminating period to prevent confusion with the prepositions. Single-letter symbols, such as, t. (temperature), should be punctuated in typeset matter, but may be left unpunctuated in tables and illustrations. The trend today is to omit the period, even for non-metric units of measure, for example, sq ft. There is no difference in form between the singular and plural forms for either metric/SI and non-metric/SI units of measure: 1 yd, 2 yd, 1 km, 2 km, a 100-km hike. Exception: Btu’sAZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) (blend of upper- and lower-case letters). Unlike other units of measure, temperature expressions do not require spaces between the number, degree symbol, or letter abbreviation, e.g., 32°C, 32°F. Military ranks According to GM and WT, police and military ranks, when shortened, require a period for reasons of editorial style. Note, however, that the Department of National Defence (DND) of Canada does not advocate the use of periods. Upon consulting the new edition of CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing), one will find that DND also has its own set of abbreviations that may not be suitable in standard prose. Upon consulting NY, one will also notice that compound ranks are not hyphened, e.g., Sgt. Maj. Moreover, depending on the source, the very same denomination may have a different abbreviation. Compare PteCA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing) and Pvt.NY WT (private). For other details, consult CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing). Months May, June, July are not to be abbreviated. Otherwise use the following abbreviations: Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Note also that military datelines require no periods, e.g., 1 Nov 1997. In tables where space restrictions prevent the use of longer abbreviations, use the following (no terminating periods): Ja F (February) Mr Ap My Je Jl Ag S (September) O N (November) D Provinces and Territories Two-character codes are used on packages and envelopes to facilitate processing by computerized postal systems. They are also the preferred form in the Internet: AB BC MB NB NF NT NS [NU] ON PE QC SK YT LB (Labrador) Otherwise, use the following: Alta. B.C. Man. N.B. Nfld. N.W.T. N.S. Ont. P.E.I. Que. Sask. Y.T. Lab. Note the absence of spacing before periods following the capital letters. As an exception, GM recommends PEI without periods. States The following abbreviations are used with postal code addresses, with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Ohio, and Utah, for which there are no official abbreviations. Notice the lack of uniformity in the length of abbreviations: Ala. Ariz. Ark. Calif. Colo. Conn. D.C. Del. Fla. Ga. Ill. Ind. Kan. Ky. La. Mass. Md. Me. Mich. Minn. Miss. Mo. Mont. N.C. N.D. Neb. Nev. N.H. N.J. N.M. N.Y. Okla. Ore. Pa. R.I. S.C. S.D. Tenn. Tex. Va. Vt. W.Va. Wash. Wis. Wyo. Use the following list of two-character codes on envelopes, packages and in Internet/e-mail correspondence: AL (Alabama) AK (Alaska) AR (Arkansas) AZ (Arizona) CA (California) CO (Colorado) CT (Connecticut) DC (District of Columbia) DE (Delaware) FL (Florida) GA (Georgia) HI (Hawaii) IA (Iowa) ID (Idaho) IL (Illinois) IN (Indiana) KS (Kansas) KY (Kentucky) LA (Louisiana) MA (Massachusetts) MD (Maryland) ME (Maine) MI (Michigan) MN (Minnesota) MO (Missouri) MS (Mississippi) MT (Montana) NC (North Carolina) ND (North Dakota) NE (Nebraska) NH (New Hampshire) NJ New Jersey (New Jersey) NM (New Mexico) NV (Nevada) NY New York (New York) OH (Ohio) OK (Oklahoma) OR (Oregon) PA (Pennsylvania) RI (Rhode Island) SC (South Carolina) SD (South Dakota) TN (Tennessee) TX (Texas) UT (Utah) VA(Virginia) VT (Vermont) WA (Washington) WI (Wisconsin) WV (West Virginia) WY (Wyoming) More difficult-to-find advice on the treatment of abbreviations and codes will appear in future issues of Terminology Update. REFERENCES & SOURCE LABELS AP The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual: Including Guidelines on Photo Caption, Filing the Wire, Proofreaders’ Marks, Copyright, Norm Goldstein, editor, Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley, 1992. Attal, Jean-Pierre. Grammaire et usage de l’anglais, Paris, Duculot, 1987. Beer, David and McMurrey, David. A Guide to Writing as an Engineer, New York, Wiley, 1997. AZ (A to Z Business Office Handbook) Swindle, Robert E. and Swindle, Elizabeth M. A to Z Business Office Handbook, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall, 1984. CA (The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing) The Canadian Style: A Guide to Writing and Editing, Rev (Revised). and expanded, Toronto, Dundurn Press, 1997. Caps and Spelling. Rev (Revised)., Toronto, Canadian Press, 1981. CG Quirk, Randolph, et al. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, London, Longman, 1991, 1985. CP (Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors) CP Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors, Peter Buckley, editor, Extensively rev (Revised). 1992, Toronto, Canadian Press, 1992. De Sola, Ralph. Abbreviations Dictionary, Expanded international 7th ed., New York, Elsevier, 1986. CS The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1993. EC (Editing Canadian English) Burton, Lydia, et al. Editing Canadian English, Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre, 1987. Canada’s Postal Code Directory = Répertoire des codes postaux au Canada, Ottawa, Canada Post Corporation = Société canadienne des postes, 1987-. The Canadian Addressing Standard Handbook: Delivery Needs Accuracy, Ottawa, Canada Post Corporation, 1995. FM The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage, first edited by H.W. Fowler, 3rd ed., edited by R.W. Burchfield, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1996. GA (The Gazette Style) Gelmon, Joseph N. The Gazette Style, Rev. ed., Montreal, The Gazette, 1995. GC Gage Canadian Dictionary, Rev. ed., Toronto, Gage Educational, 1997. (Dictionary of Canadian English) GM McFarlane, J.A. and Clements, Warren. The Globe and Mail Style Book, Rev. ed., Toronto, Globe & Mail, 1993. GR Sabin, William, et al. The Gregg Reference Manual, 4th Canadian ed., Toronto, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1995. GU Tricoit, Christiane. Guide de l’anglais moderne écrit (G.A.M.E.), Paris, Coforma, éd. François-Robert, 1990, 1989. United Nations. Documentation, Reference and Terminology Section. Currency Units = Unités monétaires = Unidades monetarias, New York, The Section, 1991. (Terminology Bulletin, no. 343). HW Flick, Jane and Millward, Celia. Handbook for Writers, 2nd Canadian ed., Toronto, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993. MW Merriam-Webster’s Secretarial Handbook, 3rd ed., Springfield, Mass., Merriam-Webster, 1993. NY The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage: A Desk Book of Guidelines for Writers and Editors, revised and edited by Lewis Jordan, New and enl. ed., New York, Quadrangle/New York Times Book, 1976. OA The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations, Oxford, Clarendon Press; New York, Oxford University Press, 1992. PR Harris, Muriel. Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage, 2nd ed., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice Hall RH Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Stuart Berg Flexner, editor in chief, 2nd ed., New York, Random House, 1993. ST Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of Style, Philip Rubens, general editor, 1st ed., New York, H. Holt, 1992. Sigles en usage au Québec, réalisé par la Bibliothèque de l’Assemblée nationale, éd., rev. et augm., Québec, Assemblée nationale, Direction de la bibliothèque, 1990. WT Skillin, Marjorie E., et al. Words into Type, 3rd ed., completely rev (Revised)., Englewood Cliffs, Soukhanov, Anne H. Word Watch: The Stories Behind the Words of our Lives, 1sted., New York, H. Hold, 1995. Notes Footnote 1 For the purpose of this article, the generic term abbreviated form includes acronyms, truncated or short(ened) forms, codes, contractions, initialisms, initials, shortened nicknames, slang shortcuts (e.g., C-note) and symbols (e.g., Rx: prescription). Return to footnote 1 referrer Footnote 2 Consequently, it is empirically difficult to provide a French equivalent for an English abbreviation whose full form is unknown. A context is absolutely essential to carry out research. Return to footnote 2 referrer Footnote 3 Many editors have begun to drop the periods after commonly used Latin abbreviations, eg., vs, v (used in sports columns and in court cases), the ultimate minimum required for sufficient comprehension. Return to footnote 3 referrer
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Alphabet soup

An article on the proliferation of abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms.
Barbara McClintock (Language Update, Volume 9, Number 2, 2012, page 20) It is common knowledge that public servants and military personnel overuse abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms (AAIs). Acronyms and initialisms are both types of abbreviations. The main difference between them is that acronyms are pronounced as words, whereas in initialisms letters are pronounced separately.The addiction to AAIs has spread as a result of their importance in electronic communications, where space is at a premium. Texting is rife with AAIs and much has been written on the subject. Initialisms such as LOL (laughing out loud) and OMG (oh my God) and symbols such as ♥ are entries in the Oxford English Dictionary. When used as text and tweet shortcuts, they may actually save you from a trip to the hospital for carpal tunnel surgery! AAIs that may be misunderstood should be spelled out on the first reference to clarify the meaning for readers. As an added benefit, this helps avoid translation mistakes.Recently, I have noticed that many people are unaware of when to use articles with abbreviations. Articles are not a problem with acronyms, which are pronounceable as words, unless there is some confusion about whether or not they should be pronounced as a word. This confusion sometimes occurs with abbreviations of French expressions, such as Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel. CEGEP is pronounced as a word so it is an acronym. However, according to usage, CEGEP is considered an abbreviation for a college in English, e.g. John Abbott College. It is thus an exception to the pronunciation rule.To confirm my theory about the use of articles with abbreviations, I conducted an informal poll. One of my colleagues advised me to check organization websites as a definitive source of reference. That can work, but it sometimes leads to more confusion. Although the people running the largest federal government union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), undoubtedly have more important things to think about these days, there are inconsistencies in how PSAC is written on its website. In the About the Public Service Alliance of Canada section, the description switches from the PSAC to PSAC and contains some awkward wording to boot:The PSAC is working to achieve a compassionate and inclusive society free of sexism, racism, homophobia and all other forms of discrimination… PSAC is committed [to] defending access to quality public services, and to social justice through emergency relief funding [of] antipoverty and development work both in Canada and around the world.PSAC is an acronym because most people pronounce it as a word. Acronyms are treated as proper nouns so they do not need an article. Thus, it would be better to write: PSAC is working…. If the writer or translator is unsure, he or she (please note that I did not say they) should at least decide to use one form or the other and then be consistent.In any case, guidelines for abbreviations are simple. Just look at what the abbreviation means and, when there is a noun that indicates the entity, use an article (a, an or the). This also applies to French names, such as the Autorité des marchés financiers. The AMF is Quebec’s financial industry regulatory authority.Guidelines for abbreviations AcronymsMeaningAcronymsPublic Service Alliance of CanadaPSACTechnology, Entertainment and DesignTEDInitialismsMeaningInitialimsThe International Monetary FundThe IMFThe Autorité des marchés financiersThe AMFInitialisms, which have become all the rage with Web 2.0, are even used as verbs, although not in formal writing. There is currently some debate about how to write the verb forms of initialisms such as cc for carbon copy, which has been given a new life with email. What is the answer to this bad pun: CC-ing is believing? Lolled or lol’d?InformalI cc’ed (or cc’d) him yesterday.FormalI sent him a true copy (or copy) yesterday.Since carbon paper has gone the way of the dinosaur, true copy has become more popular in legal writing.NOTES Amy Lee, “LOL, OMG, ♥ Added To The Oxford English Dictionary,” The Huffington Post, May 25, 2011.“About the Public Service Alliance of Canada,” November 21, 2011.“Articles with abbreviations,” Language and Learning Online, Monash University.
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definite article with initialisms

A writing tip on when to use the definite article with initialisms.
When an initialism refers to an organization, the definite article generally precedes it. For example: The WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) is an international conservation body. However, when the initialism refers to a substance, method or condition, the definite article is not required: DDT was banned in the United States in 1972. (substance) St. John Ambulance offers CPR training. (method) ADD/ADHD is often diagnosed when children begin school. (condition) Since the initialisms HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and WNV (West Nile virus) both refer to medical conditions, the definite article is not needed: WNV was first detected in North America in 1999. HIV is not spread through casual contact. Three percent of the population tested HIV-positive. But: The HIV-positive population is increasing yearly. In the last example, the definite article is necessary because it refers to the noun population rather than the initialism.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
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A Question of Sound, not Sight

An article on how to determine whether to use a or an using sound and not sight.
Charles Skeete (Terminology Update, Volume 29, Number 3, 1996, page 14) "A miff loan: any loan judged to be an unnecessary waste of funds, which usually causes the lender or other parties involved to be miffed (offended, annoyed)." (Source unknown)Often, in English as in other languages, the word on the page may not sound or appear to be the same once pronounced or spelled out correctly in accordance with the rules of the particular language.The other day a Francophone client of ours at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) had the unenviable task of establishing whether, in using the abbreviation for "Mortgage Insurance Fund," it was correct to write "a MIF loan" or "an MIF loan."We simply reminded the client of the general rule for words such as nouns, adjectives and adverbs: one should first consider, not the spelling, but the sound of the word as it is pronounced, in particular the sound of its first letter. In order to determine whether a or an should be selected, consider what the sound is when the word in question is read aloud. For figures and numbers, as well as for initialisms, i.e. abbreviations formed from the initial letters of a series of words and not pronounceable as words, consider the sound of the first number or letter. Here are a few examples:a united stand a one-year term; a 1:30 meeting a high school reunion a CBC production an energy crisis an NHL referee an NDP member a NAFTA-related issue an ACTRA award an FBI agent an incredible person an 1890s event an honourable politicianThese examples are consistent with correct English usage and observe the rule governing the use of a or an before vowels and consonants. At first glance, there appears to be no consistency since both a and an are used in examples containing consonants and vowels. However, one only has to remember that it is the consonant or vowel sound following the article that determines whether a or an should be used. The following two guidelines are supported by the examples given:a must be used before all consonant sounds, including the sounded hFootnote b, the long u, and o with the sound w (see examples 8, 4, 3, 1 and 2); and an must be used before all vowel sounds, except the long u (see example 1), and before the silent h (see examples 13 and 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 12).Thus, our CMHC client recognized that "a MIF loan" would be justified only if "MIF" was considered to be an acronym and was therefore pronounced as a word to read: "a miff loan" (see definition given earlier). Since this was not the case, he experienced no difficulty in understanding that the only answer possible was "an MIF loan," because of the vowel sound "em" of the initial letter of "MIF," which is in fact an initialism, not an acronym.The following is a list of examples provided for those of you who wish to test your knowledge and comprehension of the rule governing the use of the indefinite article in English:___ UFO incident ___ LTD automobile ___ CMHC employee ___ FM station ___ audit review ___ SOA (Special Operating Agency) ___ home theatre ___ hard disk ___ FDD (floppy disk drive) ___ MBA student ___ UN conference ___ unfair decision ___ EU Commission announcement ___ NCR property ___ joint venture ___ IMF report ___ hearing ___ Universal weight room ___ undercover agent ___ S6 institution ___ RCMP investigation ___ recidivist ___ NATO publication ___ ISO standard ___ GST penalty ___ CPR course ___ HD (high-definition) television ___ Havana beach ___ FTA tariff ___ 11th-hour meeting ___ 8:30 appointment ___ health plan A Question of Sound, not Sight(Answers to the Test) a an a an an an a a an an a an an an a an a a an an an a a an a a an a an an an aRemarksRemark aArticle published in Quoi de neuf?, Terminology and Standardization Directorate, Translation Bureau, Public Works and Government Services Canada, April 1995, pp. 5-6-15, and reproduced with permission from the editor.Return to remark a referrerRemark bPlease note that, although an is often used with "historic," The Canadian Style recommends the use of a.Return to remark b referrer
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lase, laser

A writing tip on the words laser and lase.
Laser began as an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” As its applications have increased in number, laser has become a standard word. Laser can be used as a noun or as an adjective. Lasers are used extensively in optical surgery. Our four-year-old laser printer is beginning to make strange noises. Laser disc players have made high-quality home video a reality. The verb lase has come into use more recently. Your doctor can lase unsightly moles, warts and tattoos.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
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