An abbreviation is the written representation of a word with one or more of its letters. Abbreviations appear in the language due to the need to say a lot in a short space and also to avoid repeating a word. Abbreviation is a type of abbreviation, along with acronyms, shortenings, and acronyms, among others.
The use of abbreviations is very closely linked to the media used. Formerly there was an elaborate system of abbreviations that allowed saving time and space, and that many times it was necessary to know in advance for its decoding; for example, a p with ~ equaled pre and with ¨ equaled pra. Currently, abbreviations for chats and microblogs (such as Twitter) have been created spontaneously, adapted to their own needs for immediacy and limited space (for example, k is that, kdd is met and xo is but).
Over time, the abbreviations can evolve, so that some disappear in favor of others: 8bre. for October today it lacks use compared to Oct. Graphic simplifications are also frequent, such as the process of suppressing periods and spaces (or both) or specific typographical treatments: from the original UN it has been passed to UN and very often it is written 1st instead of 1st (not normative but widely used); already in the s. Nineteenth century strokes on some abbreviations disappeared and today there is a marked tendency to avoid flown letters (afma.instead of aff. ma, no. or no. vs. no.). It is also not uncommon for words to be removed for graphical conciseness, so a. of C. (before Christ) is replaced many times by a. C. (and even by the non-normative form of BC).
Abbreviations usually have a period in each abbreviated element and also tend to respect spaces, unlike acronyms.
SM (His Majesty)
USA (United States)
am (and not × am or × am)
However, some abbreviations can be formed with a slash (/) or with flown letters (in front of which a period is usually written).
When writing an abbreviation of an accented word, as a general rule, the tilde must be preserved, as occurs with the complete word, even if it is a proper noun:
The formation of the abbreviations must be efficient and, therefore, at least two letters must be deleted from the abbreviated word (better three, if the word is long enough, in order to save at least two characters, since one of the deleted letters is replaced by the closing period).
The three most frequent procedures to form abbreviations are by apocope (with the suppression of the final part of the word), by syncopation (with the suppression of intermediate parts of the word) and by contraction (which leaves some representative letters of the word) . Other abbreviations are merely conventional and may contain characters that are not in the word, such as 1st and viz. (from videlicet 'that is'). Some words may have more than one abbreviation, such as left. and left for left.
In abbreviations by apocope or by truncation, the first letters are taken so that the abbreviation ends in a complete consonant cluster (that is, until just before a vowel) or, more rarely, in the consonants in which a syllable ends:
Feb. ← February
say ← address
sec. ← section
supp. ← supplement
S.I.G. ← next
left ← left
Therefore, it is not considered correct to end an abbreviation in a vowel that is not at the end of the word.
A special type of this formation is the one that occurs in some expressions where the initial letters of the significant words are taken (two or, at most, three) written in capital letters, even if they derive from common names. Plural words also take only the initial if the meaning of the abbreviated expression (normally given by the first word) is singular:
DB ← database
EN ← service station
AV ← neighborhood association
In syncopation abbreviations, one or more initial letters and one or more final letters are usually taken.
Admin. ← administration
cgo ← charge
left ← left
Formerly it was customary for the final letters to be flown, with the abbreviation point in the place where letters were deleted (adm. ón) but today there is a tendency towards simplification and it is normal for all letters to be written in normal size. They are usually left still flown when only one letter is taken from the end (M. e, 'mother').
In contraction abbreviations some significant letters are taken. It can be a syncopation in which the final part is also omitted, or only a few consonants (usually three or four) can be taken that allow the word to be recognized:
ctv. ← penny
phone ← phone
Pnt. ← pontiff
Abbreviations formed from words that have two gendered forms can reflect gender depending on whether or not the ending is included.
Those formed by apocope and ending in a vowel in both genders have a common abbreviation:
Lic. ← graduate, graduate
left ← left, left
However, when the masculine ends in a consonant and the feminine is marked with -a, or when the forms according to gender are different, it is normal to use a flown a or, sometimes, without a flown in the feminine:
Prof., Prof.ª ← professor, professor
Mr., Mrs. or Mrs. ← don, doña
Those formed by syncopation and that include the ending (where it is marked if it is a masculine or feminine word) have two abbreviations:
Dr., Dr.ª or Dra. ← doctor, doctor
left, left ← left, left
Pdte., Pdta. ← president, president
Abbreviations are not used in the running text, with the exception of those that appear in specific contexts:
|Abbreviation||context of use|
|etc.||At the end of a list or enumeration.|
|am pm||After hours.|
|to. C., a. C., d. C., d. of C||After years.|
|Mr., Mrs., Mr., Mrs., Col., Exc.||And other treatments, before names of people.|
|var., sp.||In biological nomenclature.|
|v., quad., fig., p.||And other references in a text, before a title or number.|
|SA, SL, Cía.||With the names of companies and companies.|
|left, right||In postal addresses, captions of images...|
However, even though they are abbreviations, they are often used in the text in any context US, CC. OO. , JJ. OO. , as it happens with the acronyms.
The abbreviations have the plural mark by adding an -s at the end, but those that are made up of a single letter, instead, repeat that letter:
Dir. ('director') → Dirs. ('directors')
USA ('United States')
In the cases of abbreviations of expressions formed with the initials of the significant words, the letter of all the elements will be doubled if the complete expression has a plural meaning, even the words that are kept in the singular:
EE.SS. ← service stations [ with SS., although service is singular ]
As for the accentuation of the abbreviations of this last type, the singular expression is taken as a basis:
RR OO. ← real orders [singular is RO, real order ]
ÓÓ GG. ← governing bodies [singular would be Ó. G., from organ ]
Martínez de Sousa proposes the mixed spelling RR at the OOTEA . OO. (with tilde only on the first O).
Abbreviations with flown letters add an equally flown es:
The abbreviations that take dot do not suppress it. However, when the abbreviation coincides with the end of a sentence, only a period is written. Other signs that may be after the abbreviation point and that correspond in the sentence are preserved, including the colon:
He said he would go to the cafeteria at 3 pm.
He said he'd be there at 3 pm He stood me up.
He said he would come at 3 pm, but he didn't show up.
He said he would come at 3 pm (but he didn't show up).
He said he would come at 3 pm; she didn't show up
He said he would come at 3 pm: that was a good time.
He said he would come at 3 pm... [the abbreviation point plus the three of the ellipses]
He did not show up at the agreed time (3 pm).
He didn't show up at the agreed time (3 pm) and I left.
Did you tell me at 3 pm? Well, I misunderstood you.
He told me, "I'll be there at 3 pm."
Phone: 00 000 00 00
Phone: 00 000 00 00
In general, an abbreviation should not be separated from the context to which it belongs; i.e. there must not be a line break between the last element of a list and eg etc. ; between the hour and am; between the year and a. C.; between p. and the page number, etc.
▶Main article: Physical drive
The distinction between abbreviation and symbol can be confusing. Symbols are not really abbreviations, but rather graphic representations of concepts that generally belong to the scientific-technical field and are usually part of a formal language where certain types of established manipulations are possible. The paradigmatic example is mathematical symbols. Another example is the symbols of units of measurement, which are not abbreviations either, but rather mathematical entities, as established by the International System of Units.
However, abbreviations do not have a fixed form, since the same word can give rise to different abbreviations, but they can be easily distinguished from symbols by their properties, which lack a period and a plural: