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Essentials of Good English


Abbreviations are shortened form of long words and lengthy phrases. It makes it easier to read difficult and complex words. For example, short form or abbreviation of ASAP is As Soon As Possible. Most commonly used abbreviations are Dr. for Doctor, or Mr. and Ms. for Mister and Miss. Some common abbreviations used on social media are LOL (Laugh Out Loud), IDK (I Don’t Know), BRB (Be Right Back). Abbreviations itself has its short form as abbr., abbrv. or abbrev. Abbreviations are also known as Acronyms but there is a slight difference between them. Abbreviations are most useful while short-hand writing. Learn more about Types of Abbreviations and Rules of Abbreviations in detail.

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Meaning of Abbreviations

Abbreviations are the short form of a word or phrase. It is a group of letters taken from the word or phrase. Sometimes, abbreviations are read as a word itself.

In simple words, an abbreviation is a shortened, reduced or contracted word or phrase. Most abbreviations start with a capital letter and end with a period (full stop).

Importance of Abbreviations

  • Abbreviation provides a quick, easy, and convenient way of indicating something
  • It saves time, effort, and spaces
  • It is easier to use in everyday writing
  • An abbreviation makes reading easier

Learn more about Spelling and Pronunciations here in detail.

Types of Abbreviations



What is an Acronym?

An acronym is a form of abbreviation. There is some difference between the two. Abbreviations are the shorter version of a word or phrase.

An acronym is a specific type of abbreviation. It is formed from the first letters of a multi-word term, name or phrase.

Example of abbreviation: Important is written as imp.

Abbreviation of Acronym: FBI stands for Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Initialism of acronym is capital, whereas abbreviation can have both capital and small letters.

Rules of Abbreviations

There are some rules for making abbreviations. They are:

Rule 1

If a person is using an abbreviation for the first time, he must place it within parenthesis after the term. Consider an example of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

Rule 2

Proper nouns are abbreviated with capital letters while the common nouns are not. For example, RBI stands for Reserve Bank of India.

Rule 3

Abbreviate the familiar terms. Consider the example of USA – United States of America, TV – Television, FBI, IAS etc.

Rule 4

One can abbreviate the titles or professions while using them with the full name or initials. Dr. Mehta is one such example.

Rule 5

No need of periods (.) for some abbreviations to indicate dates. 400 BC, 400 AD are such examples.

Rule 6

One can abbreviate months and days of the week while using them with the full date. For example, Dec. 5, 1924

Rule 7

One can abbreviate the clock time. A person can use capital letters and with or without periods. Use of periods is necessary when using lowercase letters. One cannot use an abbreviation when no time is attached. For example, at 8 AM, 7 PM etc.

Rule 8

For time zones, one can use abbreviations with no periods. For example, IST stands for Indian Standard Time, EST stands for Eastern Standard Time.

Rule 9

One can abbreviate some scientific or measurement terms. For examples, Kilogram is abbreviated as kg. Kmph stands for kilometer per hour.

Rule 10

The abbreviation of the word number is No. Sometimes a person can also use the symbol # to represent it. Street No. 89 denotes street number 89.

Rule 11

Name of cities, towns, country can also be abbreviated. One can also abbreviate the names of directions also. For example, LA stands for Los Angeles, N.W. stands for North–West etc.

Rule 12

A person can also abbreviate some Latin terms. For examples, e.g. stands for example; i.e., stands for that is or in other words etc.

Rule 13

One should not abbreviate terms only to save time and space. For example using nite for night, gud for good etc.

Rule 14

If an abbreviation is coming at the end of the sentence, use only one period. For any interrogative or exclamatory sentences use the respective symbols after the period in the abbreviation.

Rule 15

Use lowercase s (and not ‘s) for the plural form of an abbreviation. CDs, DVDs, PCs, TVs etc. are some of the examples.

List of Commonly Used Abbreviations

  • Mr. for Mister
  • Dr. for Doctor
  • AM for Ante Meridiem
  • PM for Post Meridiem
  • PC for Personal Computer
  • BTW for By the way
  • IDK for I Don’t Know
  • LOL for Laugh Out Loud
  • E.g for Example Given or For Example
  • Etc. for Et cetera

Solved Examples for You

Problem: What is the full form of CBI?

  1. Central Bureau of Investigation
  2. Central Board of Investigation
  3. Crime Board of Investigation
  4. Crime Board Institution

Solution: 1. Central Bureau of Investigation.

Problem: What can be the abbreviation of ‘Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India’?

  2. ICAICoI
  3. IC&ICI
  4. ICICI

Solution: 4. ICICI. One does not include the abbreviation of the terms like and, of in general.


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