Abbreviations – CSEET
Abbreviations are the shortened form of a word, phrase or text. Usually one uses abbreviations of words or names in private letters, while taking notes in between lectures or noting down some important points, thoughts, etc., as a means of saving time and also to be able to understand text at a later time. However, in formal writing it is best to use only well-known abbreviations that are understood by all and are infrequent practice.
Etc. is the widely used abbreviation for ‘etcetera’, whereas someone may be in the habit of using ‘eta’ as an abbreviation for the same word, which only that person would understand to mean ‘etcetera’. Hence, such practice in formal writing should be avoided.
Types of Abbreviation
– the first letters of two/three words or names are used to form an abbreviation. For example: M.A. (Master of Arts)
P.M. (Post Meridiem)
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
In the examples given above abbreviations can be used without the full stop also, according to the emerging trend.
However, a shortening of a word can be used with a full stop at the end Prof., Capt., Maj., Gen.
– Acronyms are words formed from the initial letters of other words. UNICEF (United Nations International Children Emergency Fund)
FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry)
Note that these acronyms do not take on full stops in between and are frequently pronounced as a word.
Some abbreviations can be used with or without a full stop at the end, e.g.
– the first and last letters of a single word.
– Scientific terms
Weights and measures are used both in full form as well as in abbreviated form.
Kg, lb, m, amp, ft, yd, mph.
– Chemical symbols
Abbreviated words are also used as chemical symbols, such as:
Ca (Calcium), H (Hydrogen), NaCl (Sodium Chloride), H2O (Water).
Plural in Abbreviations
– The general rule to make an abbreviation plural is to repeat the same alphabet, such as: P- page, pp-pages
– It can be made plural by adding an ‘s’ if the abbreviation is of more than one alphabet, such as: MAs, MPs, Capts
However, there are some exceptions to these rules, e.g.:
– ’Mr.’ which is ‘Messrs’ in plural and cannot obviously become Mrs.
– Abbreviations of scientific terms denote both singular and plural in the same form, for example:
1Kg. 4Kg., etc.
– To introduce a possessive relationship in an abbreviation apostrophe ‘s’ is added to the abbreviation. For example:
M.P.’s or MP’s-These should not be mistaken as the plural of MP.
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