This week, within the space of eleven minutes, we received two nearly identical requests.
Chris Workman, an engineer with the ETC Group, asked, “Would it be possible to have a weekly tip focused on abbreviations and acronyms in technical reports?”
Jacob Hortin, a benefits specialist with Zions Bancorporation, asked, “Have you recently discussed the appropriateness of using abbreviations in emails?”
We can do this.
A couple of thoughts.
Use abbreviations and acronyms your readers will understand.
In other words, know our audience. Some abbreviations and acronyms are standard and well known:
Ms., Mr., Dr.
No problem here. No explanation necessary. Some are industry-dependent:
HVAC, HECL, JMPI
If there’s a reasonable likelihood your reader will understand the abbreviation or acronym, use it.
But if not . . .
Introduce the abbreviation or acronym.
Write the full version and enclose the short form in parentheses:
We’ll provide Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) every year.
Let us know your questions and concerns. We love this stuff. We really do.