Abbreviations and symbols. Forming abbreviations

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the third edition of the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participates with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.


    Forming acronyms and initialisms

    • Most acronyms are formed from the first or first few letters of a series of words. They are written in capital letters and do not take points.


    • If an acronym contains six or more letters, capitalise the initial letter and lowercase the others.  

      Erasmus Tues. (Tuesday) col. (column)
    • On the other hand, initialisms are usually formed from just the first letters of a series of words. Generally speaking, write them following the upper or lower case pattern of the full term. When the full term is in lower case, they are usually separated by points.

      ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System)
      e.g. (exempli gratia)
      i.e. (id est)

    • Note, however, that the abbreviation plc (public limited company) is always written in lower case but without points.
    • In higher education, some initialisms representing degree studies combine upper and lower case and do not take points.

      BSc (Bachelor of Science) PhD (philosophiae doctor)

        • Note, too, that an initialism may take capital letters even when the full term does not.

      NGO (non-governmental organisation) PC (personal computer)


      Forming contractions and truncations

      • Contractions are formed by omitting the middle of a word. In line with British English, this guide recommends not putting a point after the last letter of the contraction.

        Attn (Attention) Dr (Doctor) Mr (Mister)

      • Truncations are formed by omitting the end of a word and sometimes other letters as well. They are always followed by a point.

        Feb. (February) Tues. (Tuesday) col. (column)