Grammar school!

You may be onto something there, I still don’t like it :thinking:


“Spell it how you say it” is the emerging rule, not that I’ve been consistent. Upper case if you spell out the acronym, lower case if you voice it. It’s… up in the air.


Thanks for the info, though I’ll personally still be sticking with caps for darn near all acronyms. :+1:


Yeah, likewise both BBC and the New York Times spell it “Covid” or “Covid-19” and not “COVID” in all-caps, which is the way the government still spells it.

That said, they still put “AIDS” in all-caps, but maybe that’s because of the possibility of confusion with the English word “aids.”


This implies a semantic difference between whining and whinging that I don’t think I properly understand. :frowning:


I just like the word “whinging” and used it as emphasis. :+1:


Hmm. I guess I could get behind using British spellings as intensifiers. “There is some honor in that, but the greatest honour of all is…”


That’s okay, then. I thought at first you were just winging it.


I often see “whingeing,” too.

I’ve seen it explained on the Guardian UK website, and it was indeed as mentioned above. NASA is Nasa on their site b/c it’s said as a word would be, rather than spelled out, like the ISS. Visiting/living at a large number of UK news sites and forums encouraged me to give up on the periods between acronyms’ letters, like U.S.A. as you’d mentioned. It makes writing and typing them much easier.

Few UK businesses use an apostrophe. I got great catalogues for years from a UK saddlery company called Robinsons. One of my favorite US saddlery catalogues during jr high and high school came from Miller’s in New York.


Wait, why are we discussing this in a vacuum when the BBC famously has a style guide it follows and that is publicly available?


Use the abbreviated form of a title without explanation only if there is no chance of any misunderstanding (eg UN, Nato, IRA, BBC). Otherwise, spell it out in full at first reference, or introduce a label (eg the public sector union Unite).

Where you would normally pronounce the abbreviation as a string of letters - an initialism - use all capitals with no full stops or spaces (eg FA, UNHCR). However, our style is to use lower case with an initial cap for acronyms where you would normally pronounce the set of letters as a word (eg Sars, Mers, Aids, Nafta, Nasa, Opec, Apec).

There are a few exceptions:

  • The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is capped up ie NICE
  • The UK Independence Party is capped up ie UKIP
  • Strategic Health Authority becomes SHA (“Sha” looks like a typo)
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder becomes SAD (“Sad” would be confusing).

For names with initials, we avoid full stops and spaces (ie JK Rowling and WH Smith).

When abbreviating a phrase, rather than a name or title, use lower case (ie lbw, mph).

Your examples are completely consistent with this guidance and Rob’s rule of thumb


Yeah, pretty sure I’ve seen a style guide stating much the same reasons for capping acronyms etc for the Guardian.

Grammatical pedantry warning: this is not the passive voice. “To happen” is intransitive and doesn’t take the passive.

(Yes, this construction still serves to obscure agency. That is the offense, not the passive voice.)


True enough. I suupose it could say, “Nice use of agency avoidance there, pal.”