A recent question used the abbreviations "NP" (noun phrase) and "AP" (adjective phrase) without expansion. A commenter objected, recommending that such abbreviations always be expanded for the benefit of those who may not be familiar with them.

A list of commonly used abbreviations currently exists on ELU Meta: List of common abbreviations and acronyms (NOAD, ESL, PIE...). Apparently the list is useful, because both the question proposing it and the answer containing the actual list have several dozen upvotes. Furthermore, ELU's help pages link to that list; I assume that this confers some sort of official (or semi-official?) imprimatur upon it.


That list does not contain abbreviations commmonly used for various sentence constituents and parts of speech. Should we add abbreviations such as "NP" and "AP" (and "Det", "PP", etc.)? If so, would it be best for them to be in a separate section? I was going to go ahead and just do it, but there would be quite a few terms to add, so I thought it would be best to gauge interest before making such a big edit.

Also of interest:

A question asked whether we should discourage the use of "argot": Should we discourage the use of argot such as AmE, BrE, ELU, ...?. That suggestion doesn't seem to have gotten much traction. The most upvoted answer notes: "Rather than asking these specialists to abandon the very way they communicate, it makes more sense to me to make sure the site helps anyone who is not familiar by documenting common jargon, including abbreviations, in the online help." It then links to the list of abbreviations.

A more popular suggestion (postdating the list of abbreviations) asks for a glossary of terms, including abbreviations. I searched ELU for "glossary" and found nothing like that, so I assume that nothing came of it.

  • Safe to say when a useful post has attracted less than 4K visits in eleven years that the majority of visitors and users are completely unaware of its existence. The top answer has gained a mere two upvotes since Dec 2018.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 11:25
  • @Mari-LouA Thanks, I hadn't noticed. I'll try to add some abbreviations, and hopefully more people will find it useful and perhaps consult it more often. Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


ELU is a collective effort. Don't ask whether potentially useful abbreviations should be added to the list.

Just do itâ„¢.

It's unlikely that someone will disagree violently enough to remove them, but it is likely that rather more people will thank you for it.

  • Thanks, that sounds like useful advice. I'll try to add some that I think may be useful. Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 17:46

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