Abbreviations are a way to shorten the writing of
certain terms or expressions, and help us to write less. Surely you have
noticed that there are words that are abbreviated using
the first letters of the same, others instead are written
abbreviated using the initial and other letters that make up
the word, and others instead only with the initial... but then, is there
a rule to form an abbreviation ?
What are the abbreviations?
According to the dictionary of the Royal Academy, an abbreviation
is a "graphic representation of a word or a group of words, obtained
through an abbreviation process in which final or central letters are
deleted, generally closed with a point and rarely with a slash"
Any word can be abbreviated; For this reason, a distinction is made
between personal abbreviations (those that any speaker
can generate for their personal use in private writing) and conventional
abbreviations, which are those recognized and commonly used by
users of a language.
Abbreviation and abbreviation, is it the same?
We usually use the words "abbreviation" and "abbreviation" as
synonyms, but we are going to see that in reality they are not. We have
already seen the definition of the first, now we will see what the
dictionary tells us about the second:
So far it seems that they are synonyms, right? But in reality, any
word or representation formed by abbreviation is, also abbreviations,
acronyms and shortenings are.
Rules for forming an abbreviation
Let's see the rules present in the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of
doubts of the Royal Academy:
- The abbreviation cannot appear anywhere in the text (we
turn to theand we found the store)
- Treatment abbreviations are used only before the proper name (Martínez, Dr. Hernández)
- An amount should not be written in letters followed by the
abbreviation of the quantified concept (twenty ctsinstead
of twenty cents)
how they are formed
- Truncation: that is, deleting the last syllables or
letters of a word (code by code). In this case the
abbreviation must never end in a vowel. When it comes to
abbreviating expressions with a fixed formula, all the words that
make it up are abbreviated, including prepositions, conjunctions and
articles, reducing them to the initial letter (RIP, may
he rest in peace).
- Contraction: eliminating central letters and leaving
only the most significant ones (or dept. by department).
If the masculine abbreviation ends in “o”, the feminine is formed by
replacing the “o” with “a” (Lcdo. for Licenciado, Lcda.
for Licenciada). If the masculine ends in a consonant, a flown "a" is
added or not (Dr. for doctor, Dra. or Dr.ª for doctora). In
this case, when the masculine ends in a consonant, the following must be
taken into account:
- If the abbreviation is formed by truncation, the feminine is
formed by adding a flown «a» (for professor, Prof.ª for professor).
It is very common in American countries that the abbreviation is
written with the "a" not flown (Profa.). Although both
options are valid, the use of the flown «a» is recommended.
- When the abbreviation is formed by contraction, the feminine can
be formed with the "a" flown or not flown (or Dr.ª for doctora)
There are abbreviations that can be used for both feminine and
masculine (left for left or left)
- When the abbreviation is formed by truncation, an "s" is added (pages by pages)
- If the abbreviation is made up of a single letter, for the
plural it is doubled (USA for United States)
- When the abbreviation is formed by contraction, the general
rules of plural formation apply, adding "s" or "es" depending on the
case (by departments; admons. by administrations) You
(Ud.) and You (Uds.) are an exception to this rule.
- The abbreviations keep the accent mark in case they include the
accented vowel (page by page)
- In general, they are written with uppercase or lowercase letters
as appropriate to the word or abbreviated expression.
- Period is always written after an abbreviation.
In the case of abbreviations with flown letters, the point is placed
in front of them (ª). In some cases the dot is replaced
with a slash (c/ for street; c/c for current
ATTENTION 👉 the abbreviations of the units of measure (kg,
m, cm) are symbols and not abbreviations, that's why they are written
without a period.