It was located in the East Coast National Scenic Area, also known as
China's Last Unspoiled Land.

Is that how it should be written? Should I put it in quotes? Should I write it in lowercase?

  • I think this question is about formatting, not writing. Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 4:12
  • @Neil Fein♦ OK, so which SE should I use instead? (By the way, I though it was OK since there's a formatting tag.)
    – wyc
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 5:02
  • Nobody's voting to close, so let's leave it for now. (Also, this answer makes a good point.) Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 19:54
  • I believe this belongs on EL&U...
    – SF.
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 11:20

2 Answers 2


If your example is part of narration in a story, you have it written exactly right. There's no need for the acronym.

"aka" the acronym originally came from law enforcement when describing someone's alias. It happens to be useful enough that it's migrated out of jargon into non-LEO usage, but you wouldn't use that acronym in running prose any more than you would fka (formerly known as), dba (doing business as), GSW (gunshot wound), or c/o (care of). Jargon acronyms are necessary within industries because the same phrases are used repeatedly and can take up a lot of space.

You could use any of those in dialogue if your speaker is part of an industry which uses that terminology, as long as the reader understands the meaning of the acronym.


I think that this question also relates to writing as Alexandro is asking how to write it - he has just simply used the wrong wording and the question does, in fact, refer to how to write something (whether or not it mentions formatting does not exclude the fact that Alexandro is asking about how to write it). I have modified the question to reflect this.

Furthermore, Alexandro is (indirectly/unwittingly) referring to the use of an acronym.

In response to your question, I would simply write it thus:

It was located in the East Coast National Scenic Area (aka: China's Last Unspoiled Land).

I choose to separate it by use of brackets simply because you are almost certainly not going to write that precise sentence in its entirety again because you have already referred to it, thus making the reader aware of it in the first instance.

For example, you will almost certainly always refer to the East Coast National Scenic Area as just that from hereon and not burden yourself with having to write East Coast National Scenic Area, also known as China's Last Unspoiled Land each and every time (even copying and pasting can be a pain).

It is also down to personal preference and I don't believe that there is a standard way to write AKA/aka/a.k.a./[insert another variation here].

  • I hesitate to DV, but if you're talking about narration in prose, your answer is incorrect. "AKA/aka" isn't used in narration the way you've written it. Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 10:11
  • Fair point - as Alexandro didn't specify what it is that he is/was writing, however, I had nothing to work on so I gave a generic answer for him to make of it what he chooses.
    – M.Y. David
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 10:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.