The rules for using an article before the abbreviation differ for acronyms and initials. Appropriate use of articles before abbreviations in scientific articles Abbreviations are fundamental tools for most scientific prose authors and are used with considerable frequency in scientific writing. They can quickly and effectively communicate concepts that require several words to write them down completely, and they are especially useful when space is limited, as is often the case in tables and figures. Abbreviations can make your writing clearer, more concise, and less cumbersome, but only if they are used carefully and accurately. Careful and accurate use, of course, involves choosing the right forms for standard abbreviations and developing meaningful forms for newly created abbreviations to ensure that each non-standard abbreviation is clearly defined when it is first introduced and then used consistently in a document. However, abbreviations must also be incorporated into grammatically correct sentences in order to communicate effectively and act as functional elements of formal scientific prose. When abused, abbreviations can be heavier than heavier jargons, and they can also be extremely confusing for readers. Articles placed directly in front of them are essential for the effective use of abbreviations. The particular article “the” rarely presents challenges on abbreviations, but it is sometimes forgotten, perhaps because it is considered part of an abbreviation when it is not, so it is important to include it if necessary. For example, “When NASA launches take place” is fine, but in the singular an article is required: “When NASA launch takes place.” It is worth remembering that acronyms (which are read as words) tend not to require previous articles at all, except when used with an adjective – “the patient has been diagnosed with AIDS”, but “the AIDS patient” – while initials (pronounced in individual letters) tend to use a previous article (whether determined or indefinite), as in “a CD”, “an NGO” and “the EU”. Acronyms (e.g. NASA, UNESCO) and initials (e.g. FBI, BBC) are common in writing.

But when should we use the articles “a”, “on” and “the” before these abbreviations? And are the rules the same for both? Check it out below. In the case of the indefinite article, since acronyms are abbreviations pronounced letter by letter, when you choose to use one or one, you need to look for the pronunciation of the first letter. Keep in mind that you may come across some organizations that don`t use items before their name when they`re used as names, like BMW. Do not use periods or spaces in abbreviations that consist exclusively of capital letters, except in the case of proper nouns: Although an abbreviation ending in “S” should also take an “s” for the plural form, such as SOSs, it can seem clumsy if it is often used in the same text. In such cases, one possibility is to allow the abbreviation to represent both singular and plural forms, e.g. PES (public employment service(s) or SER (renewable energy source(s)), although care should always be taken to avoid ambiguities and the full plural term may be preferable. Secondly, they should not be used unnecessarily. If an abbreviation appears only once or twice, it is better to do without it completely and use the full form. In the case of repeated references, it is also often possible to use an abbreviated form instead of an abbreviation: it is common in legal documents to cite other publications using standard abbreviations for the title of each source. Abbreviations can also be found for common words or legal phrases. These citations and abbreviations can be found in court decisions, laws, ordinances, journal articles, books, and other documents.

Below is a basic list of very common abbreviations. Because publishers use different practices when it comes to printing abbreviations, it may happen that abbreviations with or without a period are given for each letter. For example, the Code of Federal Regulations may appear abbreviated as “C.F.R.” or simply “CFR.” I hope this guide has explained how to use articles with acronyms and initials in your writing. However, to be absolutely sure that your writing is error-free, upload a 500-word document for a free trial of our proofreading services. If you use an indefinite article with either type of abbreviation, it depends on how you pronounce the term, not the spelling, whether you use “a” or “on”. The use of indeterminate articles with other acronyms and abbreviations can be confusing if the pronunciation in the field varies. An example is “miRNA”, an abbreviation of “microRNA”, which in turn is an abbreviation of “ribonucleic micro-acid”. The term “miRNA” is alternately pronounced as “EM-eye RNA”, “microRNA” or “my-RNA”, which apparently requires one, one or one respectively. How can we determine the right indefinite item to use in this case? A quick search on Google Scholar shows that a “miRNA” gives 18,000 visits, while a “miRNA” gives only about 5,000 visits, suggesting that the most typical choice of article with “miRNA” is one. In general, if you`re not sure which article is indefinite to use with a particular abbreviation, a review of the specific literature in your field and conversations with colleagues can also be helpful. If the abbreviation begins with a consonant, use “a”: If your document contains many abbreviations, you must include a list of these abbreviations and their meaning at the beginning or end of the document.

The MLA Manual (8th edition) encourages users to stick to the usual scientific abbreviations for citations in the text and working page cited. Here is the list of common scientific abbreviations in section 1.6.2 of the AMLA Handbook (8th ed.) with some additions: If an indefinite article is needed immediately before an abbreviation, the pronunciation of the abbreviation determines whether “a” or “on” should be used. “A” is the right choice before abbreviations that begin with a consonantal sound, including a vowel pronounced as a “w” or “y” sound. Examples include “a PhD,” “a NASA launch,” and “a UNICEF greeting card.” However, if an abbreviation begins with a vowel, including a consonant pronounced with an initial vowel, “on” should be used instead, as in “an APA reference style”, “an IQ test”, and “an MP constituency”. The correct use of articles before abbreviations is not only one aspect of completed writing, but it is also important to ensure clear communication, with the abbreviation “MS” being a good example. As an initialism, MS stands for “multiple sclerosis” and reads like simple letters, so it should be used with “on” if an indefinite item is needed (an MS patient). However, MS can also mean “manuscript” (or, more precisely, the Latin manuscript) and is pronounced as a word when reading aloud, so it should be preceded by an “a” if an indefinite article is needed (an MS study). Confusing the two abbreviations with the inappropriate use of articles (such as in “an MS patient”) may make your reader laugh, but this is only desirable if it is also intentional. If you use acronyms or initials that contain an abbreviation for number, do not repeat the word number after the abbreviation. Write the entire print or use only the short form. Why our editing and proofreading services? At, thanks to our large team of highly dedicated academic and scientific professionals, we offer the highest quality of journal article editing, doctoral theses and proofreading.

All of our reviewers and editors are native English speakers who have earned their own postgraduate degree, and their areas of expertise span such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to assist our international clientele in scholarly publishing, improvement and refinement of all types of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our team of editors and proofreading experts work primarily on articles intended for publication in scientific journals, applying rigorous standards for journal editing to ensure that the references and formatting used in each article conform to the journal`s instructions for authors, as well as grammar, spelling, punctuation or simplicity. Correct typos. In this way, we enable our clients to report on their research in the clear and accurate way required to impress acquisition publishers and get a version. Acronyms and acronyms are two types of abbreviations formed from the initial letters of a group of words without spaces (and usually without periods). Deciding to use one with an abbreviation or acronym can be more complicated.