Abbreviations and acronyms

An abbreviation is not an acronym. Acronyms are words formed by the first letter or letters of a series of words (these follow regular rules of capitalization if used as the first word of the sentence).

Follow standard rules for common abbreviations (reference the Gregg Reference Manual), but in most cases for Phoenix Contact products or technologies, the abbreviation is capitalized with no punctuation.  

  • Examples:  PDM, SCADA

Your reader may not know what an abbreviation stands for. in the first instance, spell out the words of an abbreviated phrase, followed by the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses. Abbreviations and acronyms are generally capitalized, but you don’t need to capitalize the words of the phrase itself, unless the origin phrase is a proper noun.

  • Examples:  Power distribution module (PDM), North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
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Use downstyle (or sentence case) for headlines/subheads, (except with proper nouns/product names):

  • Example: industrial integrity

Use initial caps for titles of publications, books, etc.

  • Example: “Smart Redundancy: Auto Current Balancing Technology"


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Common misuses and errors

I/OUse when referring to general input/output technology.
IOUse in a product name.
It'sIs a contraction for it is.
ItsIs possessive.
ThatUse for essential clauses. Example: I remember the day that I started.
WhichUse for non-essential clauses. Example: The product, which launched last year, is green.
i.e.The abbreviation for the Latin term id est, which means "that is." It should always be followed by a comma.  Spelling out "that is" is preferred, followed by a comma.
e.g.The abbreviation for the Latin term exempli gratia, which means "for example." It should always be followed by a comma.  Spelling out "for example" is preferred, followed by a comma.
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Commonly confused words

FartherFor physical distance
FurtherFor metaphorical distance or time
PrincipalOf your school
ComplimentNice thing to say
ComplementMatch, complete
ContinualOngoing but intermittent
ContinuousWithout interruption
StationaryStands still
ImplySuggest a meaning
InferDraw meaning from something
AffectVerb: act upon or cause an effect. Noun: emotional response
EffectVerb: bring about, effect a change. Noun: something produced, like a special effect
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Common technical terms and words

Class I, Division 2Class should always be a Roman numeral, Division should be Arabic
Division can be abbreviated – Class I, Div. 2
E-mail or e-mailPhoenix Contact hyphenates this term.  Capitalize the “e” only if used at the beginning of a sentence.
WebsiteUse this as one word, not web-site or web site.
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When directing a user to our website, use the following terminology:

Learn more about <insert product name/keyword here>.

Learn more about Ethernet cables.Click here to learn more about Ethernet cables.
Download the white paper.Click here to download the white paper.
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Use of uppercase letters

As a general rule, mixed case is to be used.

There are a few exceptions approved by Corporate Marketing:

1. Uppercase letters may be used as a stylistic device for product names, order designations, and proper names. These terms must be maintained in the terminology database. Examples: PROFICLOUD, CLIPLINE complete

2. Uppercase letters are to be used if a considerable improvement in user experience can be proven. Regarding the Phoenix Contact homepage, this applies to the main navigation and call-to-action buttons. The length is limited to 25 characters. Uppercase letters must not be combined with punctuation marks. In such cases, the display in uppercase letters is always generated systemically. The source text in the data source, e.g. in a CMS or PIM, is always maintained in mixed case (see point 1 for exceptions).

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D-32825 Blomberg
+49 5235 3-00