Abbreviations (initialisms) starting with small letters which appear first in titles

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  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In practice, most people would avoid the problem by finding ways of not using the acronym at the beginning of a sentence. But if you do use it that way, it should be left in its “official” form — in my view, anyway.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    That seems to be the standard abbreviated form of transcranial direct current stimulation, so yes, it would be correct to use it in a title.

    But unless your readers know what it stands for, it's probably better to use the full name in the title, and then abbreviate it in the article that follows.

    Note it's not an acronym.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    USA English
    For what it's worth, The Associated Press Stylebook (the de facto standard for American newspapers and journalism schools) says:
    We capitalize IPhone and IPad at the start of a sentence, otherwise we write iPhone or iPad.
    Note that one of the functions of a style guide is to ensure that everyone using it writes an expression the same way, not necessarily to declare something right or wrong. ;)


    Senior Member
    Thank you so much. So, as a result of your comments, I with use it the way as I first mentioned.
    The readers already know what it stands for and I cannot repeat it word by word, and the funny thing is that there are several, let's say, sub-titles, that start with this abbreviation (not an acronym, OK :p).
    Thank you for the explanation dear sdgraham. It's an enticing point:rolleyes:.


    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    The inventors of abbreviations like "tDCS" and "mDNA" (mitochondrial DNA) took the unusual step of "lowercasing" the first letter for a reason: to indicate that a well-accepted abbreviation (DCS, DNA) is being modified by an adjective. I am not a reader in either of the technical fields where "tDCS" and "mDNA" are commonly seen; but if I were, I think it would be slightly more difficult to read and understand "TDCS" or "MDNA" with uppercase first letters. ("MDNA" turns out to be the title of an album by the singer Madonna!)
    Lingobingo (#2) suggests finding a way of not using the abbreviation at the beginning of a sentence (or title)—good advice. For one way to do that, see the list of references in the Wikipedia article "Transcranial direct-current stimulation", where several of the titles begin with the full phrase, followed in parentheses by "(tDCS)".
    Probably there are also other ways of moving the abbreviation away from the beginning of a title.
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