Definite articles with acronyms

Subject: Definite articles with acronyms
From: "Elaine R. Firestone" <elaine -at- CALVAL -dot- GSFC -dot- NASA -dot- GOV>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996 12:48:33 -0500

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 16:53:00 GMT
From: John Kohl <sasjqk -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Subject: Re: Definite articles in front of acronyms

In article <32698d1b -dot- 4899518 -at- ingate -dot- djttd -dot- com>, Keith Soltys
<ksoltys -at- djttd -dot- com> writes:
|> I would like to know how people handle definite articles in front of
|> acroynms.
|> =46or example, our company has a system called the Merged Quotation
|> Distribution System, which is abbreviated MQDS. People almost always use =
|> the
|> acronym.
|> In our documentation, sometimes the definite article (the) is placed =
|> before
|> the acronym, sometime's it's not. I've being trying to make the usage
|> consistent, usually by adding the article.
|> I'm wondering if anyone has a general rule for this? I can't find =
|> anything
|> in any of the style guides that I've looked at, including the Chicago =
|> Manual.
|> Regards
|> Keith

I only use definite articles with acronyms when the acronym (a noun)
becomes an adjective. As an example, I work on a project known by its
acronym: SeaWiFS. When I'm referring to the actual instrument, it's just
"SeaWiFS" as in "SeaWiFS is an ocean color remote sensing instrument."
However, when the acronym becomes an adjective, as in "the SeaWiFS
instrument..." or "the SeaWiFS calibration..." then the definite article is

Hope this helps.


Elaine R. Firestone
elaine -at- calval -dot- gsfc -dot- nasa -dot- gov
elaine -at- seawifs -dot- gsfc -dot- nasa -dot- gov

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