Triangle Skip to content
Exit nav

Abbreviations and acronyms

Avoid using abbreviations and acronyms whenever possible. Unless the short form is more familiar, they're bad for readability and can alienate readers. So, write things out in full to make your content accessible and inclusive.


Very common abbreviations that are globally recognised are OK to use. But never abbreviate Professor to Prof – they worked hard for the -essor.

Don't use points in abbreviations.







Avoid common Latin abbreviations, such as etc, eg and ie. They might save you space, but as George Orwell remarked, why would you use a foreign word when a native equivalent exists? There are good plain English alternatives that will make your writing easier to understand:

Etc – use "and others" or include complete lists where possible.

Eg – use "for example", "such as" or "including".

Our research spans several interlinked areas, including literary studies, postcolonial studies, gender studies and others.

 Ie – Use "that is", "meaning", "in other words" or rewrite the sentence.

How we use our voice, in other words how we express ourselves in our content, is fundamental to people's perception of our brand.

IbidMeaning "in the same place", this is allowed in academic writing for repeat citations, especially in footnotes, but not in general communications. Instead write the reference out again in full.

Only use ampersands if they're part of an official title or name. Otherwise, spell out “and”. Find further guidance and examples in Ampersands.

Acronyms and initialisms

If you really need to use an acronym, spell it out in full on the first mention, with the acronym following in round brackets. After that just use the acronym or initialism:

The University Executive Board (UEB) agreed on the main decision. The UEB made further decisions later in the meeting.

Amnesty International is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in the UK. Other UK-based NGOs include Oxfam and Save the Children.

For very common acronyms and initialisms, you can use the short version straight away. Use a continuous string of capital letters:








UoN stands for the University of Nottingham. We use it sparingly in more informal contexts, such as on social media.

Read more about how we refer to ourselves in University of Nottingham.

There's also no need for any full stops or spaces between initials:

DH Lawrence

JRR Tolkein

WH Smith