Capitals when giving full term for acronym/initialism?


Hi there,

I'm doing a paper that involves the use of several acronyms/initialisms. At the first mention I write out the full term plus the acronym/initialism in parentheses. Does the full term need initial capitals in these cases?

For example,

human resource management (HRM)
Knowledge-based View (KBV)

Thanks, E
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    In general, no. Words in lower-case usually turn into capital initials: human resource management is abbreviated HRM, not hrm, but there's no reason to use non-standard capitalization for the full words.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    To say the same thing in a slightly different way:

    If the full term is a proper noun - capitalize it, e.g. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)

    If not, then don't, e.g. COD (collect on delivery)


    American English
    I regarded capitalizing common terms that had all-capital abbreviations to be an error when I was in a position to edit the writing of others. I am glad that several other correspondents to this forum take the same view.

    You've got human resource management right. I suspect that "Knowledge-Based View" should be "knowledge-based view." It should unless it is a proper noun, e.g., some company's trademarked name for a process or product, which they would render "Knowledge-Based View®" or "Knowledge-Based View™."
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