1. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    How do you write an abbreviation that's become a name?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by E. C. Scrubb, Dec 21, 2012.

    For instance, Lieutenant is often abbreviated Lt. or LT. When that becomes a nickname, how is it written? A second question along side of that one, when writing fiction, is there a space between initials when it's a name (L. T. instead of LT.).

    Or would it be better to write Ell-tee, which I've seen done before as well.

    EDIT: I just realized that L. T. won't work since they're not really initials. So ignore the second question.
     
  2. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    Personal preference here, but if I was reading something and the character is being referred to as lieutenant I would want to read the whole word and not an abbreviation. Lt. just seems vulgar if not on a badge or roster sheet. Go for the whole word, I say.
     
  3. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Just found a military website and a couple others, including forums with military, and they all refer to the leutenant as Ell-tee, so I'm going with that. Sorry to create a thread and then find my own answer later on. :redface:
     
  4. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    I'd still recommend keeping in mind who your audience is. If you're writing for the general public I would still spell the word out. If you're writing a military field manual, go for it. I wouldn't be familiar with ell-tee and reading it over and over would be a little annoying to me.

    Either way, good luck with the writing!
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's really on a case by case basis. For example, no one writes L.A.S.E.R. any more, or even LASER. They write laser, and may not even be aware that it began as an acronym (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)
     
  6. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I understand what your saying - I thought about that as well, which is why I hopefully fixed it by introducing him as Lieutenant, then explaining that he's called Ell-tee.

    I have to admit, the entire time, I kept hearing a voice with a southern accent saying, "Lieutenant Dan." :D

    Thanks Cog. You bring up a good point. There's quite a few like that anymore. Radar is another one.
     
  7. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    I personally find spelling out Ell-tee to be awkward and unnecessary at best... The reason people verbally shorten it to LT is because it's written that way; I would simply write LT and be done with it, assuming people aren't verbalizing the entire word.

    Another thing to consider is that some people in the military call lieutenants just that; others call them LTs. It's a way of speech for someone. For example, to get your attention I would say "Lieutenant Scrubb", while my buddy might just holler out "Hey LT!"

    Just my experience and two cents..

    To answer your question though, I would simply use "LT". Think of a name, Enrique Johnson, who everyone calls EJ. You wouldn't spell it out "Ee Jay", you'd simply put EJ and be done with it, or if you preferred the more stylistic "E.J.", you'd write it that way.
     
  8. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    To abbreviate Lieutenant, and make it a nickname you could use 'Lieu' But as far as I know you can't shorten initials - unless you call them 'L'
     
  9. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Speaking as an average person with little to zilch knowledge of military ranks, terms and protocol - I can fully understand when a sergeant is referred to as 'sarge', but a lieutenant as 'Ell-tee' - it may be correct, but it doesn't have an easily recognisable connection and would (I think) take a bit of getting used to.

    Good luck with your story.
     
  10. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    You know, backing up a bit, I think going the ell-tee route could work if you're using it in the dialog or if you're writing in the first person. Especially if you limit it to a character or group of characters using it (the officers/soldiers under the lieutenant's command). That way you're adding a little flavor to the characters.

    I also like "lieu". Reminds me of Rescue Me with Dennis Leary. Lieu was the funniest character of all time. Not sure if that is a colloquialism or abbreviation that is specific to New York/firefighters though.

    Anyway, good luck again!
     
  11. .Mark
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    .Mark Member

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    I'd personally go with LT or Lt, because it's more visually appealing than "Ell-tee", and the reader is likely still going to read it the same way
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    another common nickname is 'loot'...
     
  13. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for your advice.

    I've stuck part of this in the workshop already with Ell-tee. Personally, I like LT better. So maybe I'll change it back.
     
  14. Em_Anders
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    Em_Anders Member

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    Ah-ha! Found it :rolleyes:
     

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