An abbreviation is the short form of a word or phrase. There are four types of abbreviation: Acronyms, Contractions, Initial Abbreviations and Syllabic Abbreviations.

An acronym is an abbreviation spoken like a word. Sometimes the word is written in capital letters sometimes in lowercase.

  • Laser – Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation
  • PIN – Personal Identification Number
  • Radar – Radio Detection and Ranging
  • UNICEF – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

A contraction is a shortened version of a word. A contraction often includes an apostrophe to replace the removed letters.

  • Haven’t – Have not
  • You’re – You are
  • Mr. – Mister
  • St. – Street

Initial Abbreviations
An initial abbreviation, or initialism, is an abbreviation whose letters each represent a word. The letters are spoken separately.

  • VIP – Very Important Person
  • CD – Compact Disc
  • ASAP- As Soon As Possible
  • FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Syllabic Abbreviations
A syllabic abbreviation is formed from the initial syllables of several words.

  • FedEx – Federal Express
  • Interpol – International Criminal Police Organisation
  • Gestapo – Geheime Staats Polizei