1. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    Handling of acronyms

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by PeterC, Jan 31, 2013.

    When writing around an acronym is it proper to treat the acronym as if it was fully expanded or just spelled out? For example "RNG" is an acronym for "random number generator." Thus does one say

    "a RNG" (for "a random number generator")

    or

    "an RNG" (for "an R-N-G")

    Thanks!
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    It should be "an RNG", but only if it's clear to the reader what "RNG" stands for. If it isn't, or it only features in the plot for a few sentences, don't use an acronym at all.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    like this:
    or, you can spell it out the first time you refer to it and use the acronym after that:

     
  4. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Well, there's a group of gun control nuts in my area called the Department Of Urban Constitutional Hangun Elimination, and my friends and I just refer to them without the dashes.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    No there isn't, and this isn't a political thread.
     
  6. cswillson
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    cswillson Member

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    Thanks. I don't have a large enough post count to be considered an authority, so I wasn't going to comment, but that was pure b..s..

    Sorry, I know it just continues an off topic thread, but you're right.
     
  7. cswillson
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    cswillson Member

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    Peter C, to address your question, I've written many technical papers and the proper format for using acronyms is that with the first use of the proper term you capitalize the first letter of your term and follow it with the acronym in parenthesis, i.e.:We used a Random Number Generator (RNG) for our data. The use of the RNG gave us the ability to come up with any outcome we desired.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on how a speaker would typically say it, and it's not always clear cut. For example, the computer acronym SQL is either pronounced "ess-queue-ell" or "SEE=kwul" (like sequel), depending on the speaker's preference or the conventions of where it is discussed. So in the former case, you might refer to "an SQL query", and in the latter, "a SQL query."

    In the case of RNG, it is nearly always spoken as the three letters, not "rung" or "ring", so you would use the indefinite article "an".
     
  9. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    That makes sense. I suppose that's why it seemed ambiguous to me since different people have different ways of speaking these things sometimes.

    Thanks!
     

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