Use of definite article

Subject: Use of definite article
From: "Ronald Schwarz" <RSchwarz -at- cosmocom -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 3 Oct 2008 15:30:28 -0400

I tried to look up in the Chicago Manual of Style and the Microsoft Manual of Style ... the rules for using the definite and indefinite article in conjunction with abbreviated product names. I did not find anything helpful. We have a product called CosmoCall Universe, abbreviated CCU. In the process of writing and revising an integration manual for use of the CCU with another product, also abbreviated, management made me delete "the" in front of the two abbreviations.

Even though it seemed natural to me to refer to CosmoCall Universe without a definite article, because it sounds like a collective name for an architecture, when referring to a particular platform implementation, I preferred using the definite article ("the CCU"); and the same for the other product.

Is there a rule for this situation? I cannot go according to my management's practices because the manager does not even know when to capitalize and the analyst who designs our products and helps him directly has a foreigner's command of English. I would like to set down the rules for them so we can have marketing collateral (what they often write) that is pleasant to read as well as what I write (user documentation).

Ronald Schwarz

Senior Technical Writer

CosmoCom, Inc.
121 Broad Hollow Road
Melville, NY 11747 USA
Phone: +1 (631) 940-4320
Fax: +1 (631) 930-3252
EMAIL: RSchwarz -at- cosmocom -dot- com

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