Abbreviations Exercise (501)

Revise each abbreviation to reflect correct style.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The matter was referred to the F.B.I.
Correct : The matter was referred to the FBI.

Insertion of periods in acronyms (abbreviations pronounced as words) and initialisms (abbreviations pronounced as letters) is obsolete. (According to The Associated Press Stylebook, familiar abbreviations such as "FBI" are acceptable on first reference, but The Chicago Manual of Style recommends that they be spelled out the first time the entity is mentioned.)

2.
Original: The phenomenon is occurring all over the U.S.
Correct : The phenomenon is occurring all over the United States.

As mentioned in the comment about the previous example, the use of periods in acronyms and initialisms is going out of style, though the style persists in many publications. However, the larger issue is that "US" should be used only as an adjective (as in "US policy"); spell out "United States" as a noun.

3.
Original: The distance from my house to my job is 7 mi.
Correct : The distance from my house to my job is seven miles.

Abbreviate units of measurement only in highly technical usage (and spell out numbers of one hundred or less and large, round numbers, though some style guides recommend spelling out only up to ten).

4.
Original: The bank robbers crashed into the ATM machine and removed money from the wreckage.
Correct : The bank robbers crashed into the ATM and removed money from the wreckage.

When the last letter in an acronym or an initialism that modifies a noun stands for that noun (another example is "PIN number"), the noun is redundant and should be deleted. (A similar error is the insertion of "please" in "Please RSVP"; the translation of the French abbreviation "RSVP" is "Please respond," so "please" in "Please RSVP" is redundant.)

5.
Original: I found a box of DVD’s in the closet.
Correct : I found a box of DVDs in the closet.

An apostrophe generally should precede the letter "s" only when the letter has a possessive function, not a plural one; exceptions include names of letters that are not italicized to indicate that they are names (such as in "Mind your p’s and q’s").

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