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Spelling matters: PDF vs pdf

Dec 15, 2010

Recently we received a query about the term PDF vs pdf.

The query triggered a whole review of this set of terms, and after much discussion and some rounding up of evidence, we have decided to tidy up the set. We have gone for the capital-letter spelling for the headword (PDF) with the lower case as variant (pdf). Where appropriate we give the filename form as well (.pdf).

For the two entries that have progressed to verbs with inflections we have followed on with the capital letter spelling but added a usage note to say that other forms are in evidence. So FTP and PDF have inflected forms FTPed, FTPing and PDFed, PDFing.The usage note says that you will find ftp'ed, ftp'ing, and, less commonly, ftped and ftping. This is because the verb forms are new and people are still settling on a preferred spelling. Likewise pdf'ed  and pdf'ing, pdfed and pdfing.

In addition to PDF we have also reviewed the entries for MPEG, GIF and TIFF.

These new entries will all be available in the online dictionary from the start of next year.

Find more spelling tips and tricks in our Spelling Matters series.

This article was originally posted on our Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of Pixabay)


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