Acronyms and Short Formal Names

See the Word List for a list of commonly used acronyms and usage guidelines.

An acronym may be used before or after the spelled-out form. Placing the acronym first is helpful in preserving the flavor of speech.

Examples: The PBGC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation) has issued new regulations on minimum funding requirements. The US Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose in the first quarter.

To decide whether to use articles such as “the” with acronyms, test to see whether the article would be used with the spelled-out version.

Examples: The CAPM is often used (“the capital asset pricing model is often used”) but APT is often used (“arbitrage pricing theory is often used”).

If the potential for confusion exists, use “US” on first mention of US institutions—for example, the US Congress, federal departments (e.g., the US Department of Labor), and the US SEC.