The Streamlined Business Blog

Tip – Beware Acronym Overload

Acronyms are short hand abbreviations for longer terms and phrases. e.g. IRS is the acronym for the Internal Revenue Service. Although there’s nothing wrong with using acronyms—they can save time and ink—beware acronym overload and use acronyms with caution.

Too many acronyms can become confusing alphabet soup. Sometimes it’s clearer and more reader-friendly to write out the longer term. If you use acronyms in your company procedures manuals, be sure to apply these rules: 1) write out terms in full and define them the first time you use them. 2) Remember to capitalize each letter in the acronym.

Also, consider including a list of acronyms with your glossary, and always spell out the acronym in parentheses the first time you introduce it in the document

Examples of acronyms:

  •  CD is both jargon and an acronym meaning either compact disk and certificate of deposit
  • IRA is jargon for both Individual Retirement Account and Irish Republican Army.
  • LCD is an acronym for Liquid Crystal Display.
  • LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode.

For more tips, check out our other Writing Tips Posts and our webinar series. 

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