Wooden letters

Initialisms

Initialisms are abbreviations which consist of the initial (i.e. first) letters of words and which are pronounced as separate letters when they are spoken. Examples include:

initialism
full form
BBC
British Broadcasting Corporation
MP
Member of Parliament
UN
United Nations
TUC
Trades Union Congress
UK
United Kingdom
CD
compact disc
  • You do not need to put full stops after the letters in an initialism. Sometimes, especially in American English, certain initialisms may include full stops if that is the preferred style of a particular writer or publisher. For example, the forms US and U.S. are both acceptable, as long as one or the other is used consistently within a piece of writing.
  • When you are forming the plural of an initialism, you do not need to use an apostrophe, for example:
MPs
e.g. MPs voted against the bill.
CDs
e.g. I bought some new CDs today.
  • Note that the possessive form of initialisms is formed in the usual way, with an apostrophe + s:
an MP’s salary
(i.e. the salary of an MP)
a report on MPs’ expenses
(i.e. the expenses of MPs)
the CD’s subtitle
(i.e. the subtitle of the CD)

 

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Shortenings

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