Learn English – Is ‘a.k.a.’ an acceptable abbreviation to use in academic writing


Is it sometimes (or ever) acceptable to use in academic writing the abbreviation 'a.k.a.' ('also known as')?

Best Answer

If you're using it "literally" (i.e. - to specify an alternative name used naturally by [at least some] other people for the thing you're talking about) then it should be fine in most formal contexts. Except where the alternative designation itself is inherently informal (e.g. G W Bush aka "Dubya"), where it's a matter of whether mentioning the alternative name is appropriate, rather than aka.

What's not okay in academic contexts is the informal use of aka to introduce an ad-hoc alternative term purely to describe/characterise something - such as, for example, Houston's new Astrodome, aka. the Eighth Wonder of the World.

The above link includes a single period after aka, which I would say is never "correct". But although there are twice as many written instances of "[Alcatraz] Island, also known as The Rock", if you check the abbreviated usage it seems to me most writers don't include periods.