Task: Work assignment

Exercise 2 - Acronyms

Published: 20.05.2010, Updated: 30.03.2011
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Modern English is full of forms that are shortened from longer alternatives. The short forms are preferred simply because they are shorter and perhaps even catchier, cf. lab (laboratory), bra (brassiere).

A special type of short form is the acronym, a form that consists of the first letter of two or more words. They may be pronounced as if they were separate words AIDS, (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), UNESCO (United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization) or pronounced with the letters that make up the form VIP (very important person), BP (British Petroleum). Most often such acronyms refer to well-known organisations and companies, although in theory an acronym can replace most well-known proper nouns (‘egennavn’).


What do these acronyms stand for? Write the full name of each acronym.

  1. US
  2. IRA
  3. EU
  4. BBC
  5. UK
  6. WWF
  7. GOP(hint: American politics)
  8. SUV (hint: type of car)
  9. WHO
  10. CEO (hint: type of job)
  11. GPS
  12. Vt (hint: US state)
  13. HIV
  14. IT


Suggested key
  • US =   (the) United States. The name of the nation is the United States (of America). The article may be dropped in pre-modifying position, cf. US sources claim that…
  • EU =   (the) European Union. The full name is the European Union, but the article may be dropped here, as well, when it is used in front of a head noun.
  • UK =   (the) United Kingdom. The full name is the United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • GOP =  (the) Grand Old Party, which means the Republican party in the US.
  • WHO = (the) World Health Organisation.
  • GPS  =  Global Positioning System. Satellite signals that tell us exactly where we are on the surface of the earth.
  • HIV =  Human Immunodeficiency Virus. A virus that causes AIDS.
  • IRA =  Irish Republican Army; an armed illegal organisation which used to fight for Northern Ireland to be united with the Republic of Ireland; now far less influential.
  • BBC = (the) British Broadcasting System
  • WWF = (the) World Wildlife Fund.
  • SUV =  Sport Utility Vehicle; a fairly large and powerful type of car, often with four-wheel drive (4WD).
  • CEO = Chief Executive Officer
  • Vt  =   Vermont
  • IT =     Information Technology