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Standard English & Proper Grammar

by Pat 30. January 2017 10:00

Standard English & Proper Grammar

The grammar used on your resume says a lot about you and today we want to address capitalization.

We were recently asked:

When is it correct to spell out United States, and when should we use the abbreviations US, U.S., and USA?

Good question!

As with many grammar questions, there are differences of opinion, but here are some generally accepted guidelines you can follow:

  1. Short forms, such as U.S., are common in casual language, and using a full name or title is considered more appropriate in formal language. So, for example, when giving a speech, you should always say "The United States of America."  (The full form is also more dramatic.)
  2. In writing, use the full form, United States, as a noun, and U.S. (with periods inserted and no spaces) as an adjective describing another noun, as in these examples:
    • In the United States, many people work full time.
    • The U.S. Postal Service is in financial trouble. (U.S. is an adjective describing Postal Service)
  3. Finally, use of the abbreviation USA is limited. You will find it in some proper nouns, especially the names of media sources such as the newspaper USA Today, the cable television channel USA Network, and websites like USAaircraft.com. It can also be used in mailing addresses and fixed expressions such as "Made in the USA." Unless you are quoting a source, however, you do not need to use it. 

Why should you learn to use proper grammar?

The quality of your writing often has a huge influence on the first impression you make on people. People judge you based on how you write and speak. Taking the time to follow the rules of Standard English in your formal writing and speech allows you to present yourself in the best possible light.

We hope this helps when writing your resume!

Examples:

Correct - United States Army, U.S. Army

Incorrect - US Army

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