We explain what acronyms are, what they are for, their characteristics and various examples. Also, abbreviations and acronyms.

VAT is the acronym for "value added tax."

What are acronyms?

Acronyms are compound words from the initial letters of the words that make up a full name. That is, a way of abbreviating in a single term the total of the words used to name a institution, an organism or a country, taking into account only the initial letters of its main terms.

Thus, for example, to refer to the World Health OrganizationWe can talk about the WHO, which would be its acronym. Note that we have not taken into account neither “from” nor “the”, as they are secondary terms of the full name, and we only abbreviate Organization, World and Health.

However, it is possible to find specific cases of acronyms that take into account one or more secondary terms, especially when this gives the pronunciation a certain necessary sound, as in the case of acronyms "SME": Small and medium businesses. Without taking the "and" into account, the word would be more difficult to pronounce.

Acronyms are a way of simplifying the language, very common in both oral and written discourse, which should not be confused with acronyms, nor with abbreviations.

Characteristics of the acronyms

The acronyms are characterized by the following:

  • Generally, they consider the main terms of the abbreviated words. When secondary terms are taken into account, they are written with lower case letters and instead of acronyms they are considered acronyms.
  • They never take into account accents of the initial letters of words, nor do they add accents to the corresponding stressed syllable when they are pronounced. Thus, for example, the CIA (Central American Intelligence) are pronounced Inc, but they are not written with a tilde.
  • They are usually always written in capital letters, although there are exceptions to the case. But unlike abbreviations, the letters of an acronym are not separated by dots. Thus, it is written UN and not U.N., unless the text everything is written in capital letters and it is necessary to add the points for better understanding.
  • They can sometimes incorporate numbers, which are read exactly as they sound. 11-M would be "March eleven".
  • The acronyms can be pronounced spelled out ("ong" would sound o-ene-gé), or developing the full name (Non-Governmental Organization).

Examples of acronyms

Although these acronyms come from English, UNICEF is recognized in all languages.

Some examples of acronyms are:

  • UN: United Nations
  • OAS: Organization of American States
  • ILO: International Labor Organization
  • who: World Health Organization
  • IVIC: Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research
  • USSR: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
  • UFO: Unidentified Flying Object
  • ICU: Intensive Care Unit
  • UNAM: National Autonomous University of Mexico
  • UBA: University of Buenos Aires
  • CD: Compact Disc (from English Compact disk)
  • DVD: Digital Video Disc (from English Digital Video Disk)
  • FIFA: International Federation of Football Associations (from the French Féderation Internationale de Football Association)
  • AFA: Argentine Football Association
  • WB: World Bank
  • IMF: International Monetary Fund
  • EU: European Union
  • WTO: World Trade Organization
  • NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • UNICEF: United Nations International Fund for Children's Emergencies United Nation’s International Children’s Emergency Fund)

Acronyms and abbreviations

Acronyms and abbreviations are not exactly the same, although they operate very similarly. Just as acronyms take the first letter of the words that make up a name to make a shorter version, abbreviations do the same, but with any type of word, word, expression or title, in order to make it more succinct when it comes to to write.

Thus, abbreviations are usually followed by a period, to indicate that there is an omitted text, and they can use special characters to designate a specific relationship within the abbreviated. For example:

  • Sir, Madam: Sir, Madam.
  • AAVV .: Various authors
  • S.A .: Anonymous Company
  • Cap .: Captain
  • Dir, Dir. To: Director, Director
  • et al .: Latin adverb for "and others"
  • etc .: etc.
  • S. J. C .: Our Lord Jesus Christ
  • P.D .: Post Data
  • HR: Human Resources

Acronyms and acronyms

Finally, we must distinguish acronyms from acronyms, which are basically a type of acronym, only that they also take into account the less important terms to abbreviate the words of a name, or take more letters than only the first. Thus, they constitute an abbreviated term that is read like a common and ordinary word, without respecting the original capital letters.

Many times, acronyms end up being acronyms, so common that their use is made, and they happen to be written in an ordinary way, almost forgetting that they are the acronyms of something else. Thus, they are examples of acronyms:

  • Untref: National University of Tres de Febrero
  • AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • Laser: Amplification of Light by Simulated Emission of Radiation Light Amplification by Simulated Emition of Radiation)
  • Unasur: Union of South American Nations
  • Office automation: office and computing
  • Radar: Radio Distance Detection and Measurement Radio Detection and Ranging)
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