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Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

abbreviations: capitals and hyphens

In general, an abbreviation is capitalized or hyphenated if the unabbreviated word or words are so treated:

  • Lt.-Gov. (Lieutenant-Governor)
  • MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly)
  • UBC (University of British Columbia)

However, an abbreviation is also capitalized when it is made up of letters that are all (or mostly all) part of a single word, even though the full term is not capitalized:

  • ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone)
  • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
  • ESP (extrasensory perception)
  • TV (television)

For rules governing the capitalization of acronyms and initialisms, see ABBREVIATIONS: ACRONYM AND INITIALISMS.