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If I am writing text which contains plural form of a term that I include its abbreviation in brackets, should I include the s in the term itself inside the brackets or outside or not include the s in the term at all? Example:

The devices' Random Number Generators (RNGs)

Or

The devices' Random Number Generators (RNG)s

Or

The devices' Random Number Generators (RNG)

  • Should that be plural anyway? "The devices' Random Number Generator (RNG)..." Does each device have more than one RNG, or a different RNG in each one? – Weather Vane Jan 5 at 20:23
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    @WeatherVane It's still a good question regardless of whether there is more than one RNG. The same question can legitimately be asked about many other initialisations, for example "... the cars' Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs)"; "... the card holders' Personal Identification Numbers (PINs)" and so on. – BoldBen Jan 5 at 20:58
  • @BoldBen granted, your example about PINs is good. – Weather Vane Jan 5 at 21:00
  • @ Weather Vane it is a " different RNG in each one". – user101837 Jan 5 at 21:05
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If you are writing to a particular style guide you could consult it to see if there is any particular guidance. You should also look to see if there is any established usage for the particular abbreviation, as the answer could differ for other abbreviations.

In this case (and in most instances of initialisms), the established use is "RNGs" For example on wikipedia:

The outputs of multiple independent RNGs can be combined (for example, using a bit-wise XOR operation) to provide a combined RNG

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