1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Language Bits and Pieces that gets you GOING Thread

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cacian, Nov 15, 2011.

    ABBREVIATIONS

    the first is
    America
    then
    The U.S
    then
    the USA
    then
    the STATES
    then
    which do you for when you are writing?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but 'do you for' is confusing... what is it you are asking?
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    haha...I am talking about ABBREVIATIONS.
    which one is the correct one out of that list is what I was asking:)
     
  4. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    It depends on style and author's choice for your list. The US, U.S., USA, U.S.A., America, The States, United States, United States of America, etc., are all correct, though I wouldn't capitalize The STATES, as you did.
     
  5. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    do you often wonder why so many choices?
    it does not make life easy for writers.:)
     
  6. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    This is something I wondered, too (not specifically for the U.S.): when you use abbreviations, do you put periods between the letters or not?

    My rationale is, if I can find it in the dictionary, I use it as they have (IQ, scuba, U.S. etc.). But I don't know if I should put periods in others. Say I make up an acronym. Should it be H.R.W.Q.O. or HRWQO?
     
  7. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    you call them periods?
    I call them full stops.
    but yes it kind of gets to me these gritty irritationg punctuations find their ways into the tiniest words/letters.
    what I decided to do is to simply write FULL words.
    sometimes I do not punctuate my poetry either.
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    From the grammar sites I've glanced at, you do not use periods unless the abbreviation ends with a small case letter (Mrs., Mr., etc), or if it's all lower case (e.g., i.e., p.m.); USA, USSR, HRWQO, DOT, MD, etc do not use them.

    As to the US, I typically use 'the US' or 'the States', but it all depends on the context.
     
  9. Gfire
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    Typically being in all caps differentiates a series of initials from an actual word. Sometimes, also, I see titles with several words use title casing in an abbreviation. For example, LotR for The Lord of the Rings. Those types of abbreviations aren't usually official and would only be used in a casual setting, though. In these same casual, conversational settings, the periods would be rarely used. But I would avoid them in narrative, and always use the periods or not abbreviate it at all.
     
  10. Cacian
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    what has the context got to do with abbreviations?
    I fail to how I can place those different spellings that all mean one in different context.
    sorry I am not being rude but I just cannot see it.:)
     
  11. Cacian
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    LotR has got to be one the worst abbreviations I have ever seen.
    I do not follow what you mean about using periods.
     
  12. Gfire
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    In a conversational setting, like a message, I would use all caps and not periods. But in a book, I would probably use both.
     
  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If, for example, this was a dialogue, and it was between two Americans, I would most likely use "the States". If it were between an American and a foreigner, then I'd probably use "the USA" or just "America". In narrative, it would again depend on the characters involved in the scene, and what would seem most natural for that. The main thing would be to decide which to use in what situation and then be consistent throughout the story.
     
  14. agentkirb
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    Well, where are you going to use the abbreviation? In fiction? Non-fiction? Is it in the middle of someone's dialogue or are you using it outside of dialogue? Where is this book set (inside America or outside of America?) and who do you expect your audience to be (mostly Americans or mostly non-Americans or a little of both)?

    Usually "The States" is a phrase used by non-Americans to refer to America... but they also refer to it as "America" or "the US". I've never heard anyone in America refer to USA as "The States", but that's just me. Usually it's "the US" or "America" or "USA". Usually "USA" is a more formal. When talking about international sports, usually it's always USA: ie "Team USA" or chanting "USA! USA! USA!" at a game. Informally it's "the US" or America". Personally I'm a fan of "the US".
     
  15. Raki
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    As I said earlier, it's a matter of style. Some do and some don't. I tend to be more favorable toward Chicago style, which regarding this topic says to "use periods with abbreviations that appear in lowercase letters; use no periods with abbreviations that appear in full capitals or small capitals, whether two letters or more." This is as shadowwalker suggests, but there are exceptions ... "periods are used after initials standing for given names (E. B. White, G. K. Chesterton)" There are also exceptions with abbreviations containing lowercase letters that do not need a period, as well as other capital abbreviations that need them.

    Chicago says this about the question regarding U.S., "Except in scientific style, U.S. traditionally appears with periods. Periods may nonetheless be omitted in most contexts. Writers and editors need to weigh tradition against consistency. In running text, the abbreviation (in either form) is permissible when used as an adjective, but United States as a noun should be spelled out."
     
  16. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Not really. In fact, I think it makes life easier. It allows us to express ourselves differently. With this particular topic, that's not an extremely large thing, but with others, it is.
     
  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends where we are talking. In Britain we use Mr, Mrs, Dr and so on.
     
  18. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wonder if some of this is different for online versus print, as well. I know online the periods aren't used very often, but I haven't really paid attention to print.
     
  19. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    It depends. I have never heard someone from the US call it "the States." Most Americans seem to just call it "America," even though that's not technically correct. Although I think if I were to say, "I'm from America," people probably know what I mean. (You'd think the the US, not Canada or Mexico, right?)
     
  20. m5roberts
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    m5roberts Member

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    Typically, I would say "The States" if I'm elsewhere referring back to here, but I wouldn't say it in everyday conversation while I'm in the U.S. I think I like saying "The States" because it's verbally shorter.
     
  21. shadowwalker
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    Actually, I think military personnel more frequently refer to it as 'the States'. At least, that's been what I've seen/heard in other writing/conversations. Maybe it's from the people who have been stationed overseas frequently.
     
  22. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Yea, I was going to mention that. Referring to the US as the States doesn't sound all that odd to me, and I was both, although we did refer to it as "stateside" more so than "the states."
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've lived and traveled the world over and would just say 'i'm from the US' or 'i'm american'... when in hawaii it would be 'the mainland'... in one of the protectorates [tinian, PR] i'd say, 'the states'...

    in writing, as noted above, how i would type it would depend on the context...
     
  24. digitig
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    Context has a lot to do with whether "the States" is ambiguous. Refer to "the States" at a meeting of the UN and it could be everybody.
     
  25. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    brilliant, dig!
     

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