Acronyms and the application of full stops/periods/points

Cense

Member
English - Antipodean
If I wish to include full stops to indicate an acronym is an abbreviation do I have to include the full stop at the end of the acronym, and if so what to do if a sentence ends with the acronym?

For example if a sentence ends: "which was discussed recently at the UN.", and I wish to include full stops to explicitly indicate the acronym is an abbreviation, should the sentence end "which was discussed recently at the U.N." or "at the U.N.."?
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    It's actually called an initialism: an acronym is a set of inital letters which go together to make a word which you can pronounce (such as UNESCO). But the same rule nowadays applies to both: you don't put full stops between the individual letters, just one at the end if it's the last word in a sentence.
     

    Cense

    Member
    English - Antipodean
    Thanks for the reply however I am not sure that I agree Donny, what about e.g. and i.e. for example?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Thanks for the reply however I am not sure that I agree Donny, what about e.g. and i.e. for example?
    They're actually abbreviations rather than either acronyms or initialisms, and are written in lower case because they're not formed from proper nouns. So I suspect that's why the full stops are still customarily used with those (as indeed they formerly were with U.N.)
     

    Cense

    Member
    English - Antipodean
    They're actually abbreviations rather than either acronyms or initialisms, and are written in lower case because they're not formed from proper nouns. So I suspect that's why the full stops are still customarily used with those (as indeed they formerly were with U.N.)
    Originally Posted by Nun-Translator
    "I just can't stop myself from pointing out that abbreviations, acronyms, and initials are not the same thing."

    "I don't follow that, N-T. Your link gives the definition of "abbreviation" as "a shortened form of a word or phrase".

    An acronym is a shortened form of a phrase.

    Initials are a shortened form of a phrase.

    So acronyms are abbreviations, and initials are abbreviations, though I agree that not all abbreviations are necessarily acronyms or initials. (It's like : All cows are four-legged animals, but not all four-legged animals are cows).

    Similarly, acronyms are initials, though not all initials are acronyms.

    So the title "... abbreviations ..." legitimately includes acronyms, initials, diminutives, and any other "shortened form". I don't see any need for a change of thread title.

    PS. I've just browsed a number of other WR threads on "abbreviations", "acronyms", "initials" : I found nothing to counter what I've put above. :cool:

    W:)"

    Source:
    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1129804
     

    chfattouma

    Senior Member
    Tunisian Arabic
    I can't think of a sentence ending with 'i.e.' or 'e.g.'.
    As for 'etc.', I would use only one full stop.
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    Last edited:

    Cense

    Member
    English - Antipodean
    Fair point chfattouma, that seems to be the way to go if I wish to include full stops in acronyms and the sentence ends with one.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    As DonnyB wrote above:

    "Acronym" is traditionally and technically a shortened form of a that is is pronounceable and commonly pronounced as a word.

    Examples: UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation),l SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus). (capitalization of non-proper nouns for clarification)

    It has become bastardized, even by some "authorities" in include initialisms. The WRD here has not joined that bastardization movement. See acronym

    An initialism is formed by the first letter of each word, as the WRD says in initialism

    The distinction has been lost among many, including teachers, and the WRD here seems to avoid the word.

    A nice discussion exists here:

    in·i·tial·ism [ih-nish-uh-liz-uh
    m
    ] Show IPA
    noun1.a set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like,with each letter pronounced separately, as FBI for FederalBureau of Investigation.

    2.a name or term formed from the initial letters of a group ofwords and pronounced as a separate word, as NATO for NorthAtlantic Treaty Organization; an acronym.

    3.the practice of using initials or forming words from initials.



    Dictionary.com Unabridged
    Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2013

    Sometimes initialisms used periods (dots, full stops) and sometimes they don't. It's a matter of style and not all style guides agree.

    We (American newspapers) do not use dots with initialisms such as FBI, CIA, AFL-CIO, etc. We do use periods with the U.N. (United Nations) .... but the periods are dropped in headlines.

    Strictly speaking:

    I don't think so. I agree with DonnyB. Most authentic sources use acronyms like UN :thumbsdown:, UNESCO :thumbsup:, UNICEF :thumbsup:, ... without dots.
    Acronyms do not use periods at all otherwise they would not be pronounceable as words. Remember. an acronym functions as a word.

    UN is not an acronym. We don't say the "uhn" as in "onion." We pronounce each letter as in you-en.)

    I can't think of a sentence ending with 'i.e.' or 'e.g.'.
    As for 'etc.', I would use only one full stop.
    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

    Nor do we end sentences with abbreviated titles, such as Sgt.

    Never use more than one period (full stop) ... unless forming an ellipsis.

    As an added note CIA is an initialism in English and an acronym in Spanish.:p

    Definitive answers are hard to come by here IMHO. :D
     
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