1. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    abbreviations

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Krispee, Aug 1, 2020.

    Hi.
    I'm writing a short, science fiction, and was wondering about abbreviations. I'm thinking of HUD, or hud, for heads up display, but it's true for all abb's really..
    My question is; do you write it in caps or lowercase?

    Regards.
    Kris
     
  2. Rad Scribbler

    Rad Scribbler Member

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    On Wikipedia 'head-up display' (HUD) - abbreviation is written in caps.
     
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  3. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    @ Rad Scribbler - Thanks.

    Just wondering if there was an unwritten rules kind of thing where they expect you to write abb's in a certain way. I'm about to start submitting this particular story to sci-fi mags and didn't want to screw it up with a little thing like that. I know that that's unlikely, and I'm being a bit anal, but, you know, just dotting the i's.
     
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  4. r.ross

    r.ross New Member

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    Definitely in all caps, applies to both objects and organisations :) Examples: FBI, MI5, HTML etc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020 at 4:45 PM
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  5. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Contributor Contributor

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    HUD is an acronym, not an abbreviation. Always write acronyms in upper case. Abbreviations can vary.
     
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  6. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Cheers.
     
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  7. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Contributor Contributor

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    I say always write acronyms in upper case, but it is acceptable to write certain ones in lower case, e.g. radar, scuba.
     
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  8. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    There are a lot of grey areas in the English language it seems, fuzzy technical problems.
     
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  9. r.ross

    r.ross New Member

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    No problem! It’s threads like this that I find really helpful as it could help others looking for the same answer :)
     
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  10. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think it's important, when you're using acronyms (or abbreviations), to make sure everybody knows what they are. I, for example, would have had no idea what HUD is ...in fact, I'm still not very enlightened. Heads Up Display? What's that when it's at home?

    It's very irritating to read something that's packed with acronyms that are unfamiliar. I mean, everybody recognises the FBI, etc. Because it's a commonly used acronym to refer to that organisation. The SNP, for Scottish National Party, etc. But others are not so well-known. Make sure you define them, early on, for the people who are unfamiliar with them.
     
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  11. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Yes it is. The umbrella term "abbreviation" is used for acronyms and initialisms (and contractions).

    NATO, pronounced NAY-tow, is an acronym for North Atlantic Treaty Organization and LASER, pronounced LAY-zer, is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

    FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is an initialism.

    LOL can be both, depending on how you say it. Either as lol (acronym) or el owe el (initialism).

    Apt for apartment is simply an abbreviation.

    From the Merriam-Webster dictionary: Acronyms are abbreviations formed from the initial letters of an expanded phrase and usually do not include periods: PR for public relations, CEO for chief executive officer, and BTW for by the way.
     
  12. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    I get the need to build in some explanation but isn't it also subject to the genre you're writing in. For example, my story was intended for the Sci-Fi market, and everyone who reads Sci-Fi on a regular basis would know what HUD meant. In fact reading that genre you get to understand pretty quickly that you aren't always going to get explanations for some of the things you are reading.
     
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  13. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I actually do read Sci-Fi ...in fact I've recently downloaded two current anthologies. And nope, I didn't know what HUD is. At the very least, at some point you should probably let the readers know what the letters stand for. In this case Heads Up Display (HUD.) If we are then none the wiser, at least we can more easily look the term up.

    However, you're the writer and you can do whatever you want. If you are confident that all sci-fi readers (except me) will know what HUD is, then fair enough! :) It wouldn't be the first time I found myself out of a loop.
     
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  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Heads up display is a transparent screen or projection that sits in the pilots usual field of vision so he doesn't have to look down into the cockpit and thus wind up being dangerously unaware for a critical time period

    they are common in jet aircraft and by extension space ships in sci fi

    You also sometimes get them in cars for the same reason
    original.jpg
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    With most acronyms apart from ones that have become words like radar, i'd be inclined to introduce them so that the reader isnt confused especially where they can mean more than one thing (Hud can also mean the US Govts department of Housing and urban development depending on the context)
     
  16. r.ross

    r.ross New Member

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    When I use acronyms in my writing I write the full word when I first introduce the object/thing/organisation followed by the letters in brackets, then from that point on I just use the letters.

    E.g, he used a heads up display (HUD). The HUD helped him to... etc.
     
  17. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    I could do whatever I wanted but I'm not sure I should, and in this case I would rather get it right than be right. Perhaps I'm assuming somewhat about Sci-Fi readers and I'm sure that's not a good idea, and don't worry, you aren't the only one caught sometimes out of the loop. :D

    I haven't seen a heads up in a car, although I'm not surprised, the way things are going.

    In this case I'm going to bow to those with more knowledge than I and include an explanation. The story in question got rejected but I'm sure it had nothing to do with the acronym.
     
  18. Krispee

    Krispee Contributor Contributor

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    Plus, thanks for all your help. :agreed:
     
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