awant <an> ACC in my car / <an> ABS

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, I don't know if an acronym that is not very common should be used as a countable noun or not, and if the usage differs between everyday speech and formal writing, etc.

Please take a look at these examples:

I want an ACC in my new car.
Most consumers want an ABS in their new car.

(ACC=Active Cruise Control, ABS=Antilock Braking System)

Thanks!
 
  • meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you both. Is the reason why you don't add an article there is that they are uncommon acronyms? (But A/C is common, isn't it?)

    For example, you wouldn't say, "I was listening to CD this morning," would you?
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    You don't need an article for most acronyms, meijin.

    I would say AmaryllisBunny is right (see #2).

    I got the acronym wrong.

    EDIT: That said, "car-speak" can be different, as far as acronyms go. And ... you are from Japan ... :).

    In "regular-speak" I don't know whether the "the" is most common. I think it depends on the context.
     
    Last edited:

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I was mistaken. Strictly speaking, neither ACC or ABS is an acronym. They are initialisms. And, according to a thread in another forum, an initialism usually needs an article when its expanded version (Antilock Braking System, in the above example) needs an article.
    I guess the reason why you don't add an article to neither ACC or ABS is that you treat these initialisms as acronyms, or names, which usually don't need an article. I hope I'm right.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    What would you like to say? Can you offer another "analogy", i.e, a different example? Cheers
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    What would you like to say? Can you offer another "analogy", i.e, a different example? Cheers
    I want Kitty in my car. (Kitty here is a name of a stuffed animal)
    I want ABS in my car. (ABS here is no longer an initialism, it's more like a name of a system)
    I want CDs in my car. (CD can never be a name, because it's not a unique existence. CDs are just compact discs.)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I was mistaken. Strictly speaking, neither ACC or ABS is an acronym. They are initialisms. And, according to a thread in another forum, an initialism usually needs an article when its expanded version (Antilock Braking System, in the above example) needs an article.
    I guess the reason why you don't add an article to neither ACC or ABS is that you treat these initialisms as acronyms, or names, which usually don't need an article. I hope I'm right.
    You are correct, meijin that ACC and ABS are initialisms and not acronyms. Unfortunately, however, that distinction has been lost to a distressingly large number of English speakers, as you can see below regarding jpg.

    Some acronyms do take "a/an" though... for example: I just uploaded a GIF. (JPG, GIF, etc).
     

    AmaryllisBunny

    Senior Member
    Bah, after your post sdgraham, I had to find an initialism that takes an article or determiner of sorts... I played an MMORPG the other day. I have a TV...

    MMORPG takes an article as does TV.
     
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