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Chapter 1. Mechanics of Writing > Technical Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Units ...

Technical Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Units of Measurement

Computer documentation requires extensive use of abbreviations, acronyms, and units of measurement, many of which have become generally accepted “words” in the industry language. As with any word in a sentence, use abbreviations, acronyms, and units of measurement accurately and with consistent meaning in your documents. Do not create your own abbreviations or acronyms. Rely on industry definitions for these terms. Reference books of this type include The New IEEE Standard Dictionary of Electrical and Electronics Terms, IBM Dictionary of Computing, and Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase that is used in place of the entire word or phrase. “CPU” for central processing unit, “Btu” for British thermal unit, and “SGML” for Standard Generalized Markup Language are examples of abbreviations. An acronym is an easily pronounceable word formed from the initial letters or major parts of a compound term. “GUI” for graphical user interface, “pixel” for picture element, and “ROM” for read-only memory are common acronyms.


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