Acronyms and initialisms

Last changed: 11 July 2023
A police doing a stop sign. Behind is a blue road sing. Illustration.

Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations made up of the first letters of the words included in the abbreviation.

One example is SLU – Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet. The purpose of these abbreviations is to avoid writing a long word/name several times in the same text.

They can be useful, but there are some things you must consider.

  • Do not use abbreviations needlessly. If a word/name only appears one time, there is no need to introduce an abbreviation.
  • Never assume that the reader understands the abbreviation. Always write the complete word/name the first time it appears in a text.
  • Abbreviations pronounced letter by letter, initialisms, are written in capital letters. Example: SLU, CBM. As usual for the genitive, use an apostrophe: SLU’s research, CBM’s work.
  • Abbreviations pronounced as a word, acronyms, are written in lowercase with only the first letter in uppercase. Example: Sluss, Fomar.

Read more about abbreviations in the SLU style guide.

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Published October 2019.