Initial

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The initial is the first letter of a word.

Initials are a series of the first letters of the words making up a phrase.

The letters are pronounced separately, as in BBC (bee bee see), CBS (see bee ess), etc.

Students - and teachers - need to be well aware that initials and abbreviations, like words, can change over time and that, as usual, context is fundamental. In Britain, PC for many years stood for "police constable", before becoming "personal computer" and nowadays also standing for "politically correct". Likewise ATM, which still stands for "automated teller machine" has recently also come to stand for "air traffic management". And the relatively recent IT has now become ICT.

If asked to "initial" a document you should write the first letters of your name, i.e. "Joaquin Martinez" would write "JM".

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