12.4 Letter Sign (Indicator) Used to Distinguish Names and Other Words from Short-Form Words [II.12.a(3)]

A letter sign is used before names, such as Al and Ab, and words that have the same spelling as short-form words when they fall at the beginning of a sentence, quotation, or line of poetry, or in fully capitalized text. A letter sign is also used for letter groupings, such as abbreviations, when they could be confused with short-form words. Examples:

Al said to his sister, "Ag, come here!"


Can I borrow that CD-ROM?

It should be kept in mind that the purpose of the letter sign is to avoid confusion of letters or letter combinations with numbers, contractions, or short-form words. If the context is perfectly clear and no such confusion is possible, the letter sign is not used. Examples:

the XYZ Affair

Take the frontage road (KK) home.

Please take Uncle Al home now.

SD and JY connect at W.

When deciding whether or not something is clear in context, remember that what might seem clear to a sighted reader is not always obvious to the braille reader because the braille reader cannot see the surrounding text. In the sentence "TN is the postal abbreviation for Tennessee." a letter sign before the TN quickly identifies the letters as an abbreviation and not the short-form for tonight. However, it would not be necessary to use the letter sign before TN in a list of Tennessee addresses. Other examples:

We have a fine PD.

Some police departments aren't so good, but we have a fine PD.

John is in ag school.

John is interested in animal husbandry and will be going to ag school.