I wonder whether we can use "bzw." instead of "beziehungsweise" in a formal text or not. I actually found this sentence in a formal text:

Achten Sie beim Verbinden der Stromversorgung bzw. des USB-Kabels darauf ...

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    What exactly is a "formal text" in this case? It's definitely fine in, say, a manual.
    – Ingmar
    Dec 21, 2016 at 11:50
  • So in a manual text we can write either "bzw." or "beziehungsweise" without any difference in style of the text? If so, where can I find other abbreviations like this which are definitely fine to use as a abbreviated form?
    – Armin
    Dec 21, 2016 at 11:55
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    In manuals it's customary to abbreviate a lot. I'd even find strange to read bzw. written-out there.
    – c.p.
    Dec 21, 2016 at 11:59
  • Ok, thanks, Sorry for another question which came into my mind just now, In addition to manuals, which type of texts are likewise?
    – Armin
    Dec 21, 2016 at 12:03
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    To give you an indication, Wikipedia almost exclusively has "bzw." written everywhere. (a quick google returns 38K results for "beziehungsweise" and almost 3M for "bzw." It's rather uncommon to write beziehungsweise unless it is to mean "respectively" and not "one or the other".
    – Ledda
    Dec 22, 2016 at 8:24

1 Answer 1


I don't see any reason why you shouldn't use "bzw.". It's a very common abbreviation, after all.

But you can use even less known abbreviations or abbreviation specific to the text at hand (e.g. technical terms). Those are often introduced in the beginning or in an "Abkürzungsverzeichnis" (list of abbreviations).

For example, the Bundesministerium provides laws on the Internet. I guess we agree that laws are formal. If you skim over them, you'll notice that they contain "bzw." quite a lot. Other typical abbreviations that you find in laws are, for instance, "vgl." (vergleiche) and "Art." (Artikel).
But you also see some abbreviations specific to laws like "BGB" (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) and "ArbZG" (Arbeitszeitgesetz).

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