Looking At Jargon And Acronyms English Language Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, jargon is the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group. In other words, Jargon is a highly specialized terminology different from the standard form of language. It is a sort of shorthand to quickly convey messages between group members.

It is usually considered to be a communication barrier as it is difficult to understand by people unfamiliar with the specialized terminology. Fields that are extensively characterized by jargon include medical, engineering, sports, Information Technology , Internet and many more.

Consider your target audience before including jargon in your writing. If your writing is aimed at a person familiar with the specific field, then the use of jargon is appropriate. It results in an efficient transferring of information to experts in a language they are familiar with. If, however, the intended audience is a lay person, avoid the use of jargon. Include clear descriptions and definitions instead. In such cases, use of jargon creates a distance between your writing and the reader.

Some examples of computer jargon are as follows:

Burn - Create a CD or DVD.

Character - A letter of the alphabet, number, space or punctuation mark

For a detailed list of computer jargon and acronyms visit the following link:


Some examples of medical jargon are as follows: 

Abduction - to move a limb or some other body part away from the midline of the body.

Breath sounds - the sounds heard through a stethoscope placed on the chest over the lungs

For a detailed list of medical jargon and acronyms visit the following link:


Some examples of physics jargon are as follows:  

Singularity - A negative point in space and time where all laws of quantum physics are meaningless, because all aspects take on infinite values.

Ground State- is the lowest amount of energy as determined by quantum rules

For a detailed list of physics jargon visit the following link:


Some examples of financial jargon are as follows:  

Ask - The price at which someone who owns a security offers to sell it; also known as the asked price.

Market Close Date - Date on which the closing Net Asset Value (NAV) was last calculated.

For a detailed list of financial jargons and acronyms visit the following link:


Some examples of legal jargon are as follows

Motion - the request made by either side to the court requesting the court to rule or take action on their behalf.

Bench - term used to refer to judges or the court.

For a detailed list of legal jargons and acronyms visit the following link:


Following is an article from AutoBiz( Ireland's Motor Magazine) Thursday, January 10, 2008

Buyers baffled by techno jargon

The average car buyer is completely baffled by technical jargon and does not know his ABS from his SUV. That is the finding of a survey conducted by website motoring.co.uk of 2,500 would-be car purchasers.

32% of drivers surveyed did not know that ABS stood for anti-lock braking system and 23% failed to associate BHP with brake horsepower. Katie Armitage, marketing manager of Motors.co.uk, commented "boot space, comfort and cup holders are the kind of things buyers want to know about rather than being overwhelmed with technical jargon they don't understand."

The 10 top terms that confused car buyers were:

1. SUV (sports utility vehicle)

2. MPV (multi-purpose vehicle)

3. BHP (brake horsepower)

4. ABS (anti-lock braking system)

5. Traction control

6. Cruise control

7. Hybrid

8. Understeer

9. 4WD (four wheel drive)

10. RDSS (radio determination satellite service)


Acronyms often occur in jargon. According to answers.com (http://www.answers.com/acronym) - An Acronym is a word formed from the initial letters of a name. Consider for example:

ACE - Angiotension-converting enzyme

ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line

Guidelines for Using Acronyms

Use upper case for writing acronyms, and do not use periods.

Acronyms are not capitalized in cases where they are used as common nouns for example, laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), radar (Radio Detection and Ranging), or scuba (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus).

When using an acronym, prefer the full form at the first point of usage and provide the acronym in parentheses. The next time when you use the acronym in the document the reader will not misinterpret it to something else. Following is an example illustrating this point.

In most current applications of Computer-Aided drug Design (CADD), attempts were made to find the ligand that will interact favorably with a receptor that represents the target size. Binding of ligand to the receptor may include hydrophobic, electrostatic and hydrogen-binding interactions. In addition, solvation energies of the ligand and receptor site also are important partial to complete desolvation must occur prior to binding. This approach to CADD optimizes the fit of a ligand in a receptor site.

This convention is necessary because an acronym may have different full forms in different fields, writing, and industry. Have a look at the following table:


Computer-Aided Drafting and Design


Computer-Aided Design & Drafting


Computer-Aided Drug Design


Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate


Computer-Aided Design Development


Complex Add


Combat Air Delivery Division


Customer Acquisition Due Diligence (banking)


Computer Aided Detector Design


Computer Aided Design and Drafting



Another Example:

ACE in medical terms means Angiotension-converting enzyme

ACE in computer terms means Adaptive Communication Environment

If you are writing an internal document feel free to use the most common acronyms prevalent in your organization or industry. There is no need to provide full form.

If your text contains many acronyms, it is better to provide the readers with the list of terms.

Use a lowercase s without an apostrophe to create plurals of acronyms.

Neeru and her sister have identical IQs.

Acronym Database:



Merriam Webster online dictionary describes abbreviation as a shortened form of a written word or phrase used in place of the whole.

Abbreviations often confuse a reader try to keep them to a minimum by avoiding the usage of unnecessary abbreviations

Following are some guidelines for using abbreviations:

When using an abbreviation, prefer the full form at the first point of usage and provide the abbreviation in parentheses. The next time when you use the abbreviation in the document the reader will not misinterpret it to something else. Following is an example illustrating this point.

Abbreviate terms and words in graphics to save space.

Never use an abbreviation in the title of a paper. This gives rise to problems in indexing. Moreover, there may be a change in abbreviation which may give rise to problems of recognition of the abbreviation in the future. E.g. According to Daimler Annual Report, 2007 due to the transfer of a majority interest in Chrysler and the related change of the corporation's name, the stock-exchange abbreviation was changed from DCX to DAI.

Abbreviate certain words and phrases like

Examples of some words:

Dr., Mr., Ms., B.A., Ph.D., A.D.

Examples of some phrases:

et al. ("and others" in Latin)

i.e. ("that is" in Latin)

e.g. ("for example" in Latin)

Do not use two abbreviations in a title of a person at the same time. For example: write either Dr. Har Gobind Khurana, or Har Gobind Khurana, Ph.D.; NOT Dr. Har Gobind Khurana, Ph.D.

As stated in Mayfield Handbook of Scientific and Technical Writing, if you need to coin an abbreviation to make a word fit into some limited space, such as in a drawing or table, the most common approach is to cut the word off, five letters long or so, after the consonant following the first, second, or last syllable. Thus magnetic becomes mag. and environmental becomes envir.

The usage of "a" or "an" before an abbreviation depends on the sound of the first alphabet of the spelled out term. For example: She possesses an M.Pharm degree. Note that you read out M.Pharm as "em pharm" and e is a vowel so you use "an M.Pharm" and not "a M.Pharm".


As stated in Wikipedia -'The International System of Units (SI) defines a set of base units, from which other "derived" units may be obtained. The abbreviations, or more accurately "symbols" (using Roman letters, or Greek in the case of ohm) for these units are also clearly defined together with a set of prefixes for which there are also abbreviations or symbols.'

The 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures (1960) adopted the name Système International d'Unités (International System of Units, international abbreviation SI), for the recommended practical system of units of measurement.

The base units are seven well-defined and dimensionally independent units. They are: the meter, the kilogram, the second, the ampere, the kelvin, the mole, and the candela.

Derived units are defined as products of powers of the base units. When the product of powers includes no numerical factor other than one, the derived units are called coherent derived units. The base and coherent derived units of the SI form a coherent set, designated the set of coherent SI units (SI brochure, Section 1.4).

Some guidelines to write the SI Units are as follows:

Never insert a period after or inside a unit; both '5 c.m.' and '5 c.m' are wrong. Instead it should be written as '5 cm'. Followed it with a period only if it is at the end of a sentence.

In Section 5.3.3. of The International System of Units (SI), the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) states "The numerical value always precedes the unit, and a space is always used to separate the unit from the number. … The only exceptions to this rule are for the unit symbols for degree, minute, and second for plane angle."

This means always write "10 km" and not "km 10"


"10 km" and not "10km"

Never change the case of letter of an SI unit. Each case may denote a different unit. E.g. S denotes siemens which is a unit of conductance whereas s denotes second which is a unit of time. However, symbol for litre is allowed to be L to help avoid misunderstanding with an upper case i (I)or a numeric one(1).


Source: http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf

Table 2- SI UNITS

Source: http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf

Table3- Examples of Derived units expressed in terms of base units

Source: http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf

Table 4-Coherent derived units in the SI with special names and symbols

Source: http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf

Table 5- Examples of SI coherent derived units whose names and symbols include

SI coherent derived units with special names and symbols

Source: http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf

Please visit NSTC website for the following:

Select list of words, phrases and expressions that have to be avoided.

Select list of common errors in spelling and style.

Select list of accepted contractions and symbols.