Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms

Abbreviations

An abbreviation is a short form of a word or phrase that is used to represent the whole term. For example, etc. for etcetera, Sat for Saturday, Dec for December, Sonar for Sound Navigation and Ranging, UK for United Kingdom, etc. Abbreviations can be of many types; the most common ones are Acronyms and Initialisms.

Acronyms

An acronym is formed from beginning letters, syllables or parts of a word or phrase. It forms a new word and is usually, but not always, in all capital letters. An important point to remember is that acronyms are pronounced as words. It is a subset of abbreviation, i.e., all acronyms are abbreviations, but the reverse is not true.

Examples:

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)abbreviation

Scuba (Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus)

Radar (Radio Detection and Ranging)

OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay)

RAM (Random Access Memory)

LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization)

 

Initialisms

An initialism is another type of abbreviation that is made up of the initial letters of the name or phrase. It is different from an acronym as the former is pronounced one letter at a time, i.e., each letter is read separately, and not as a word.

Examples:

BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)

FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation),

CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)

HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language)

IBM (International Business Machines)

DVD (Digital video disc)

BTW (By the way)

UN (United Nations)

USA (United States of America)

CD (Compact Disc)

SENTENCES AND PHRASES

The first step to develop your writing style is to focus on sentences and phrases. The more you practice with different sentences and phrases, the more you improve and enhance your writing style.

Let us again understand the grammatical terminologies of a sentence. A sentence can be briefly defined as a group of words that consists of a subject (i.e., someone or something that does an action) and a verb (the action). The least group of words is called a clause. Some sentences may also contain an object (the thing or person acted upon).

The report recommended changes.
Subject Verb Object

If the word group has no subject or no verb, but its still makes some basic sense, then it is a phrase. It is a fragment and not a complete sentence, and is often used to create colorful and imagistic effects. These can be used in creative writing, but try to avoid using them in formal or specialist styles.

 

Phrase: While crossing the river.

Sentence: While crossing the river, he slipped on the wet stepping stones.

Make sure you consider the following qualities while writing complete sentences:

1. A verb that shows time: Include something that happens or is described in the past, present, or future. If the group of words has no verb, then it is a fragment. Even if it contains a verb but no tense, it fails to qualify as a complete sentence. Remember, gerunds (-ing) and infinitives (-to do) are not tensed verbs and can be used as nouns or participles.

Fragment: The committee considering the proposal.

Sentence: The committee considered the proposal.

Sentence: The committee considers the proposal.

Sentence: The committee will consider the proposal.

2. The absence of a subordinating word: Your group of words fails to be a complete sentence if any one of the following words or phrases is placed in front of it:

after if until
although in case when
as provided that whenever
as if since whereas
as though so that whether
because that which
before unless while

Consider the following example:

While common law has long implied that there is a requirement for mutual respect and fair dealings in the employment relationship.

 

The while at the beginning of the sentence implies that there is a second part to this sentence, which contrasts with the information given in the first. Without this second part, the sentence is not complete. To correct this problem, either put a comma after relationship and add another clause, or take away while.

Tips and tricks for beginners in writing

  • Do some short exercises to stretch your writing muscles Many new creative writers find that doing the washing up or weeding the garden suddenly looks appealing, compared to the effort of sitting down and putting words onto the page. Force yourself to get through these early doubts, and it really will get easier. Try to get into the habit of writing every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes.
  • If you’re stuck for ideas, carry a notebook everywhere and write down your observations. You’ll get some great lines of dialogue by keeping your ears open on the bus or in cafes, and an unusual phrase may be prompted by something you see or smell.
  • Work out the time of day when you’re at your most creative. For many writers, this is first thing in the morning before all the demands of the day jostle for attention. Others write well late at night, after the rest of the family have gone to bed. Don’t be afraid to experiment!
  • Don’t agonize over getting it right. All writers have to revise and edit their work it’s rare that a story, scene or even a sentence comes out perfectly the first time. Once you’ve completed the initial draft, leave the piece for a few days then come back to it fresh, with a red pen in hand. If you know there are problems with your story but can’t pinpoint them, ask a fellow writer to read through it and give feedback.

HAVE FUN! If your plot seems wildly far-fetched, your characters bore you to tears and you’re convinced that a five-year old with a crayon could write better prose take a break. Start a completely new project, something which is purely for fun.