by Jennie Ruby
Most editors and style guides recommend introducing an acronym by placing the acronym in parentheses after the first use of the spelled-out term or name like this: University of Maryland Baltimore Campus (UMBC). That is pretty standard. But there are unusual circumstances when introducing the acronym might not work.
One of those times is when the name is a possessive:
The awkwardness of the apostrophe and s on the acronym cannot be denied. In such cases, I recommend avoiding the possessive apostrophe altogether by using of to eliminate the possessive apostrophe:
Another unusual situation is when the acronym is significantly more recognizable and well-known to the audience than the spelled-out name: United Parcel Service (UPS). In this case, I recommend a backwards introduction. Use the acronym in text first, and place the spelled-out name in parentheses: UPS (United Parcel Service).
In journalism, the convention has long been not to even introduce the acronym formally. Just start using it after the first use of the spelled-out name, and leave it up to the reader to remember or figure out what the surprise acronym stands for.
If you work with text that has a lot of acronyms, the text can look very choppy and disrupted as you introduce multiple acronyms within a paragraph or even within a sentence. In this case, consider providing a separate list of acronyms for the reader to refer to. Then you do not need to use the spelled-out names in the text. If you are going to use this method, though, make sure your reader knows the list exists. I recommend putting it at the front rather than the back of text. Also consider an asterisked footnote on the first acronym to notify the reader that a glossary of acronyms exists.
Are you an eLearning developer who has been tasked with creating an effective voiceover script? If so, consider attending my Writing Effective eLearning Voiceover Scripts class. I also teach the Writing Training Documents and eLearning Scripts class.