Abbreviations

Q. Could you tell me the correct way to pluralize an acronym when it is the first instance and the definition that appears before the acronym is plural? Here is an example and the two options that have been suggested to me: configuration items (CIs), or configuration items (CI)s. I think the first because it looks better, but others disagree.

Q. Some guides say not to begin a sentence with an abbreviation unless it’s Mr., Dr., and the like. How about St. Paul? Do you recommend spelling it out?

Q. I am in the process of editing and updating a publication my department produces. Before reprinting, we must get approval from our funders, and they have requested we remove all the contractions because it is a formal publication with a safety message they want to see firmly reinforced. The original creator of the publication argues that we should keep the contractions because the intended audience is children, who have a wide variety of literacy abilities. He believes it will be off-putting to children if the style is too formal, and that a more conversational style is more likely to resonate with this particular audience. What do you suggest? Are there any guidelines on exceptions to the general rule of avoiding contractions in formal writing?

Q. I’m wondering about the ampersand versus and in journal titles. There are two examples where Chicago uses and for a journal whose title online has an ampersand (Past and Present; Trends in Ecology and Evolution). Is it fair to extrapolate from these examples that Chicago would recommend replacing the ampersand in citations of journals?

Q. My significant other and I have a disagreement: he maintains that in referring to a roomful of nurses, we may say “a roomful of R.N.” on the grounds that we do not need to pluralize R.N. as R.N.s, although he does concede that one would not say “a roomful of nurse.” (“Room full” perhaps irrationally connotes to me a more ominous density of nurses than “roomful.”) We have been arguing about this for going-on ten years and would like to settle the question in order to move on to some new dispute.

Q. I know there are abbreviations such as n.p. and n.d. indicating missing info about the publisher and year of publication. Is there any abbreviation indicating that the name of a translator of a particular book is missing?

Q. Which is correct (or are both correct): the Office of Capital Markets (OCM) or the Office of Capital Markets (“OCM”)? The second just doesn’t seem right to me, but my boss keeps correcting my work by changing it to that.

Q. When we first use an acronym or initialism like FMCSA we put it in parentheses after the spelled-out version. If the spelled-out version is possessive, does the acronym/initialism need to be possessive too? Example: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) new rule or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) new rule?

Q. I have translated a German-language publication and am prepared to publish. But at the last minute I face a challenge from the author. In her work she used the term “Erneuerungsbewegung” (Renewal Movement) extensively. She consistently placed the German term within quotation marks in her work. I am now requested to do the same with “Renewal Movement.” Her explanation is that “Erneuerungsbewegung” is a self-designated, political term. Is her request valid?

Q. I edit medical textbooks in which series of closely related abbreviations are used often. For example, a chapter might discuss interleukins 1, 2, 3, and 4, abbreviated IL-1, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4. How would I introduce the abbreviation IL (for “interleukin”) into the following sentence: “Local osteolytic hypercalcemia is caused by locally produced osteoclast-activating cytokines, including interleukin 1, interleukin 6, and interleukin 8.”