The AP Stylebook has a lot of helpful advice about writing clearly and concisely. But what does it say about acronyms and initialisms? Check out our guide to abbreviations in AP style to find out.\n\nAcronyms and Initialisms in AP Style\nThe overriding concern when it comes to using abbreviations in AP style is clarity. This is why the AP Stylebook recommends only using widely recognized acronyms and initialisms. What constitutes a well-known acronym or initialism, though, will depend on the circumstances.\nThe AP Stylebook offers some help here, as it features entries on a range of common abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms. But in general terms, all it says is not to use abbreviations that your readers may not recognize.\nAs such, when deciding whether to use an abbreviation, think about:\n\n\n \tWhether it is a term your target audience will already know.\n \tIf it could be ambiguous (e.g., abbreviations with two meanings).\n\nFor instance, if you were writing for a US audience of broadcasting professionals, you could use the initialism "FCC" with confidence because the readers would know this is the Federal Communications Commission. But if you were writing for a more general audience or international readers, you would be better off using the full name for clarity.\n\nIntroducing Abbreviations\nUnlike many style guides, AP style says not to introduce abbreviations in brackets alongside the full terminology. If you need to introduce one, instead, you should just use the full terminology without the shortened form, then use the shortened form on the next use:\nThe Football Association of Ireland (FAI) announced today that it is providing more grassroots support for soccer fans. This new FAI scheme will improve access to youth sport\u2026 \u2717\nThe Football Association of Ireland announced today that it is providing more grassroots support for soccer fans. This new FAI scheme will improve access to youth sport\u2026 \u2713\nIn addition, the AP simply says "Names not commonly before the public should not be reduced to acronyms solely to save a few words." As above, then, you should only use an abbreviation if you are confident your readers will recognize it and that it won\u2019t cause any confusion.\n\nPunctuating Abbreviations in AP Style\nIn terms of punctuation, the AP's general advice is to use periods between letters in two-letter initialisms, such as "U.S.," "U.K.," "U.N.," "B.C.," and "A.D." But this is only necessary for longer abbreviations when the letters in an initialism would spell an unrelated word otherwise.\nThere are exceptions to the two-letter abbreviation punctuation rule, too:\n\n\n \tNever punctuate initialisms in a headline unless necessary for clarity.\n \tSome two-letter abbreviations are exempt, including AP, EU, ID and GI.\n\nIn addition, punctuating initialisms is less common in British and Australian English. As such, you may want to omit the periods in two-letter abbreviations as well if you're writing for an audience outside the US.\n\nAbbreviations with Names\nWhen it comes to people\u2019s names, AP style requires you to abbreviate:\n\n\n \tHonorific titles before a name (e.g., Mr. Smith and Ms. Holson).\n \t"Junior" and "senior" after a name (e.g., George Bush Jr.).\n \tAcademic degrees after a name, set off with commas from surrounding text (e.g., Dr. Samuel Hendrick, Ph.D., announced the results).\n\nIt also suggests abbreviating certain words after company names:\n\n\n \tCompany (e.g., Austin Motor Co. or P. Morgan Chase & Co.)\n \tCorporation (e.g., Bantana Corp. or KeySpan Corp.)\n \tIncorporated (e.g., Proofed Inc. or La-Z-Boy Inc.)\n \tLimited (e.g., Kenwood Ltd. or Cooper Industries Ltd.)\n\nGenerally, you only need to include these company abbreviations when using the full formal name of a company. And even then, you only need to use them once, after which they can be omitted.\n\nAbbreviating Months\nAP style suggests abbreviating certain months when using them alongside a day in a date. You can see how this works below:\n\n\n\n\n\nMonth\n\n\nAbbreviation\n\n\nExample\n\n\n\n\nJanuary\n\n\nJan.\n\n\nOn Jan. 21, 2018, the company announced\u2026\n\n\n\n\nFebruary\n\n\nFeb.\n\n\nThe product was launched on Feb. 3, 2020\u2026\n\n\n\n\nMarch\n\n\nN\/A\n\n\nThe meeting will be held on March 10, 2021\u2026\n\n\n\n\nApril\n\n\nN\/A\n\n\nThis last occurred on April 21, 1986\u2026\n\n\n\n\nMay\n\n\nN\/A\n\n\nThe premiere is on May 5, 2021\u2026\n\n\n\n\nJune\n\n\nN\/A\n\n\nThe scheme began on June 21, 1990\u2026.\n\n\n\n\nJuly\n\n\nN\/A\n\n\nOn July 8, 2008, newspapers reported\u2026\n\n\n\n\nAugust\n\n\nAug.\n\n\nSince Aug. 18, 2019, officials claim\u2026\n\n\n\n\nSeptember\n\n\nSept.\n\n\nI first wrote to you on Sept. 7, 1999\u2026\n\n\n\n\nOctober\n\n\nOct.\n\n\nWe first met on Oct. 31, 2004\u2026\n\n\n\n\nNovember\n\n\nNov.\n\n\nBorn on Nov. 14, 1973\u2026\n\n\n\n\nDecember\n\n\nDec.\n\n\nThe event on Dec. 30, 2020, will be\u2026\n\n\n\n\nBut you do not need to abbreviate months when they\u2019re used without a day:\nIn January 1989, the world changed.\nThe town hosts the events annually in April and October.\nMake sure to keep this distinction in mind when writing dates AP style!\n\nAvoiding Alphabet Soup\nThe AP warns against alphabet soup. This occurs when you use several abbreviations in succession, which makes text harder to follow. For instance:\nToday, POTUS met with the CO of NATO forces and the CMO of WHO at a UN summit to discuss NAFTA. \u2717\nIf you find yourself using multiple abbreviations in a single sentence, think about using the full terms in at least some cases (or try to rephrase in a way that keeps the abbreviations separate). And if you need any help ensuring your writing is easy to read, don\u2019t forget to have it proofread.