To abbreviate means to summarize or synthesize—that is, to say or communicate something in a shorter form. An abbreviation, or abbreviation, is a shorter way of writing a word or phrase, to save time and space. New abbreviations are always being created, and many of the older ones are often dropped or abandoned. With the use of the internet, in particular, the speed with which new abbreviations for words appear has increased.
Some abbreviations are official and do not change, such as the abbreviations that designate Brazilian states. For example: Ceará, which is abbreviated as CE; Rio Grande do Sul, as RS; and Rio de Janeiro, with the letters RJ. Abbreviations are always capitalized in this case.
Most of the abbreviations of words in Portuguese are registered in dictionaries, as “obs.”, which is the reduced form of the word “observação”. Others are used in various languages, such as “etc.” which is the abbreviation of the Latin expression et cætera and in Portuguese it means: “and other things”.
Some abbreviations made in writing are not pronounced the same way. In the example of the word “observation,” no one says “obs.” in a conversation; on the other hand, however, people say “futsal” instead of “indoor soccer”, and many people say “Floripa” instead of “Florianópolis” or “Belô” instead of “Belo Horizonte”, and so on..
Acronyms are another very common form of abbreviation. They consist of the set of initial letters of the name of an entity or a company, such as ONU, which is the acronym for United Nations. In many cases, the acronyms also incorporate letters other than the initials of the words that make up the name being abbreviated, as in the case of MinC, which is used to abbreviate the name of the Ministry of Culture of Brazil.
Some acronyms become so common that they end up being used as if they were the word as it is, and not the abbreviation. This is the case of CEP, which is an acronym and stands for Postal Address Code. And even RG, which stands for General Registry.
In times of the internet, words have gained new abbreviations, which are basically used in very informal conversations between friends. In internet chats, the word “you” often becomes “you”; the word “also” becomes “tb”; “hugs” is “abs”; “why” becomes “why”; and so on. These abbreviations should not be used in more formal texts, addressed to a larger number of people, or in school work, so as not to jeopardize the understanding of what is intended to be communicated, and so that one can train the correct way of writing the words.