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Editorial Style Guide: Acronyms

A. Usage of acronyms, the abbreviated forms of titles and other terms

Use an acronym in parentheses following the formal, spelled-out name on the first reference of the organization or program it represents. Thereafter, the acronym may be used in place of the formal name. If there is no second reference to the organization or program in the text, it is not necessary to add the acronym. If the title of an organization or entity is typically lowercased, do not capitalize the name of the organization or entity that the acronym represents when using it in front of an acronym.

CORRECT: A National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $7.5 million will allow Calvin science and philosophy students to spend an interim on Neptune.

CORRECT: This past semester, the organizers of Living Our Faith Together (LOFT) teamed with the department of health, physical education, recreation, dance and sport (HPERDS) to produce some rigorous chapel exercises. “We’ve had record attendance in our yoga vespers sessions,” said one LOFT coordinator.

See also B.acronyms and C.acronyms.

The acronyms of some organizations and government agencies are widely recognized and do not require spelling out on first reference.

The following acronyms can be used without spelling out their formal names: CIA, FBI, NASA, NFL, UNICEF, YMCA, YWCA.

CORRECT: This week, the FBI launched an investigation of the CIA on the same day that NASA launched its latest space probe.

See also B.acronyms.

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