What are 5 Types of Abbreviations You Can Use in Academic Assignments?

Have you ever used abbreviations in your academic assignments? I was sure your answer was going to be yes. It is because using abbreviations is very common in written English. But using them without proper knowledge is also becoming popular among students. Students unnecessarily are using abbreviations in their academic assignments nowadays, just not to write the full form. It is a wrong strategy, and it is why today’s article is about explaining the use and types of abbreviations in academic assignments. But before moving on to that discussion, let’s define the term abbreviation and give its brief importance.

What is an abbreviation, and why is it important to use it in assignments?

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase taken from its original version. Some students like saving time and using abbreviations instead of the whole word. For example, they write “don’t”  instead of writing “do not”. It is important to note here that not every abbreviation is standard or formal. Sometimes, students use them just to make their writing easy. It is wrong, and you should avoid doing this. You must only use abbreviations that are standard, formal, and recognised by the academic community.

Importance of abbreviations in academic writing

Abbreviations serve many purposes, due to which they are important in academic writing. They assist the writers in making the assignments easy to read and understand. It is one point that highlights its importance. Some more points are listed as follows:

  • The abbreviations help in meeting the strict word count requirements 
  • Avoiding the repetition of the words is also the main use of abbreviations
  • Using abbreviations is also important as it makes the content easy to understand 

What are 5 different types of abbreviations?

From the discussion above, you know what an abbreviation is. You also know the importance of using such shortened words or phrases in academic assignments. Now, let’s get back to our original topic, i.e., types of abbreviations. Based on their usage, there are many informal and formal abbreviations. But here, I will only talk about the shortened forms that are standard and most commonly used in academic assignments. Hence, a brief description of all 5 types is as follows as shared by a top assignment writing service UK:

Contractions – the first and most commonly used abbreviation

The contractions are the first types of abbreviations that you will mostly see in academic writing. Contractions are the shortened forms of one word mostly. It is important to note that in this type, the original letters of the word are still included. In contractions, the word being used as a short form retains the first and the last letter of the full word. When you contract more than one word, an apostrophe (‘) is used.

Example: “Dr Hayyat is a heart specialist by profession.” In this example, the abbreviation “Dr” is a contraction of the word “Doctor.”

Clipping – cut the word

The second type of abbreviation used commonly in academic writing is clipping. The word clipping says it all about this type. You can extract the meaning of this abbreviation from this word. A clip means taking something from a large piece of information. In the same way, using this type, you cut the full word into a smaller word and use it in the assignment. The complete syllables are clipped, and the writer uses only a few letters instead of the whole word.

Example: “The advert on the TV shows that tomorrow is Eid-ul-Azha.” In this example, the word “advert” is an abbreviation of “advertisement.”

Acronyms – forming new words

It is one of the most widely used types of abbreviations in academic assignments. It is a type of abbreviation in which new words are formed from the initial letters of the phrases. As a general rule of thumb, the newer acronyms are mostly used in capital letters. On the other hand, the acronyms which have become a little old are written in lowercase letters. It is important to note here that readers read many acronyms as whole words. Sometimes, acronyms are read word by word.

Example: “NATO alliance has been in operation since 1949.” Here the word NATO is an acronym. Its full form is the “ North Atlantic Trade Organisation.”

Latin abbreviations – unique to academic writing

The use of Latin abbreviations is fairly unique to academic writing. Such types of abbreviations are mostly used instead of their English equivalents. These are mostly used for two reasons. Those reasons are as follows:

  • Sometimes, the writers use Latin abbreviations because there is no proper translation of them in the English language.
  • Another reason lies in the difficult description of that word. Describing the word requires an unnecessary amount of words.

Examples: “Children should bring paper, pencil, colours, scissors etc.” “Allow your children only to eat vegetables, cupcakes etc.” In these two examples, the word “etc.” is a Latin abbreviation, and you may have seen it many times in academic assignments.

Logograms – 5th and final type of abbreviation

It is the final formal type of abbreviation mostly used in academic assignments. It is a unique type of abbreviation in which the letters turn into symbols. The most important thing about these types of abbreviations is that you do not see them often in assignments. These are used in very small quantities in an assignment. The most common examples of this abbreviation are as follows:

Examples: “The grocery stores in the UK saw an increase of 42% in their sales.” “Joe Clarke & Jennifer Rose are two children of Michael.” In these examples, the symbols “%” and “&” represent two different words. Those words are “percentage” and “and.”


Using abbreviations in an academic assignment is useful in times when you have strict word count guidelines. Moreover, you can use the standard abbreviations anytime in your text. All you need to do is give a list of their full form at the start or end of your assignment. So, read the above-mentioned types of abbreviations and use them properly in your assignments.

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