Many capacitance values occurring in electronic circuits can be conveniently expressed in nanofarads, e.g. "a 10nF decoupling capacitor" .
However, the use of the term "nanofarads" or its abbreviation "nF" is often avoided and instead the numerically equivalent terms "10000pF" or "0.01μF" are used. The first term is three characters respectively two syllables longer while the latter is two characters respectively five syllables longer. This seems inconvenient, so there should be a reason for that.
Nanofarads are avoided by
- distributors, e.g. Digikey, Mouser, Farnell, but not by RS;
- manufacturers, e.g. AVX, Kemet, Wima, but not by Vishay;
- and engineers, e.g. Robert Kollman from Texas instruments.
As an example reference, here is a screenshot from Digikey:
Interestingly, resistances and inductances are generally stated without avoiding a particular prefix.