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Linguaholic

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We were taught in school that in writing an acronym, we have to put a "." (a dot) between letters. Example: U.N.E.S.C.O. But every time I read some articles on the news or websites where acronym is being used, the dots are now removed i.e. UNESCO. Is there any guidelines on this?

Thank you.

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There aren't any strict rules on whether they need to be used or not, except perhaps that their use should be consistent within any one article.

Anecdotally it would seem to me that the 'dots' are becoming less common in usage.

The rules on capitalisation are also becoming a little flexible as acronyms settle down into our lexicon.

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I think if an acronym is known worldwide then you dont need to put the dots as no one will misunderstood it, but if there is an acronym that is not so popular then the best practice is to place the dots so the readers understands at first glance that its an acronym.

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From what I know and have experienced, long acronyms like UNESCO, UNCLOS and others should be written without the periods in between but for short acronyms like U.N., U.S., U.S.A. you need not place periods in between. Sometimes even those 2 letter and 3 letter acronyms are used without periods in between as long as they are capitalized and are properly used in context.

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Let me add to all these fine explanations about acronyms. I have no intention to get into an acrimonious debate.  :smile:

Acronyms in the register of UNESCO are in a class by themselves. That is to say, they have made it into words. That is why, people do not worry much about their former acronym status. Those, by the way, are the most successful acronyms. They blend in and we tend to forget their roots. Another good example from this category is SCUBA.

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