usage of "the" in abbreviated versions of society names

< Previous | Next >


New Member
Are there any strict rules for the usage of the definite article the in the abbreviated versions of society names? Please let me use the following example to explain my question. It's always: The American Geophysical Union (AGU). However, it appears to me that there is no consistent form for the abbreviated version. I find both the AGU and AGU. It's pretty much the same with many other societies.

Thanks for your help. :)
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It might be possible to generalise and say it's better to include the 'The' when you are using the abbreviation as a noun, and omit it when using it as an adjective. eg 'It's AGU policy to do something'.

    Others may disagree.

    Perhaps the best policy is to find out, if possible, how an organisation or society itself deals with its abbreviated form - and follow its example.


    Senior Member
    English - American
    It really is unpredictable sometimes, isn't it? :(

    It's clear from their website that their preferred form is AGU, so that seems like the better choice to me.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    These days we have websites, so you can (usually) check how they use their own name. Look in complete sentences where the name (or the word 'the') isn't the first word, and see whether they write about exhibitions at MoMa, at the MoMa, or at The MoMa. There really is no general principle. We can say what is likely, but many individual institutions would be exceptions.

    It is quite common for the full name to include 'the' and the abbreviation not to: MoMa is the Museum . . ., and MIT is the Massachusetts . . .
    < Previous | Next >