Acronyms and "the" Article

Subject: Acronyms and "the" Article
From: "Robert E. Allen" <re_allen -at- PNL -dot- GOV>
Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 19:05:54 GMT

Here's a burning issue that's been bothering me since earliest
association with US gov't writing--about 1960, but it seems like
yesterday, so you can see how exciting my life has been ;-)

How about using "the" with initialisms & acronyms when you would
have used it with the spelled out phrase? Like:

I work for the Department of Energy. (I don't; it's an example)
I work for the DOE.
I work for DOE.

I prefer the last version, without "the." It feels better, and,
as James Kirkpatrick said in "The Writers' Art," April 18, 1993,
"Writers must rely more on the feel of a sentence than on the
dictates of a rule book."

It does feel better to use "the" when the acronym is an adjective:
I work at the DOE site.

Does anyone know of a rule? Does anyone have an opinion? Does
anyone care?

Bob Allen

re_allen -at- pnl -dot- gov

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