Abbreviations & Acronyms

Abbreviations can improve sentence flow. However, make sure they are commonly known and use them sparingly.

Geographical locations take periods. So, B.C. stands for British Columbia and BC doesn't. The only exceptions are brands or company names.

  • BC Ferries, BC Hydro, the B.C. government

Don’t write "the province" when you mean British Columbia’s government or public service. Find rules for ministries and organizations in Word Usage.

Give the full name and put the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses the first time you use them.

  • Provincial sales tax (PST)
  • Personal education number (PEN)

Only use abbreviations and acronyms on their own if they are well-known. Include a brief description when necessary.

  • Don't use: deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
  • Use: DNA, the carrier of genetic information

Don't use e.g. or i.e. Instead, use plain language such as "for example" or "in other words" to introduce examples.

Don't use etc. at the end of a series that is introduced by "such as" or "for example."

Most acronyms are written in ALL CAPS. Check a CP Style Guide for exceptions. If you don’t have a guide, contact your ministry GCPE shop.

  • HTML, XML, PDF, URL, CBC, ADHD, PTSD, BCPSA, UVic, PhD