Abbreviating makes sense in today’s world. When we speak, sometimes it’s best to be sharp and direct. Using abbreviations is helpful, saving us precious time in conversations. Sometimes, abbreviations are understood better than their expansion. For example, light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Say that in a sentence and laser makes a lot more sense. Same with répondez s’il vous plaît. It’s much easier to RSVP to a party than to learn French!
Quick rundown on the different kinds of abbreviations thanks to Wikipedia: Acronyms are pronounced, like in scuba, laser, and NATO. Initialisms are spoken using letters, like USA, FAQ, and IRA.
Though convenient and oft-used, acronyms and initialisms are abused, causing a strange, unpleasant tweak in my neck. ISWC, many people would be arrested for incorrect abbreviation use. This happens for a couple of reasons:
- People don’t know what the abbreviation means – There is nothing more terrible than when someone writes LOL on a friend’s Facebook wall after a family death. Lots of Love? Laugh out Loud? Who knows what the intention was, but IMO, this spells disaster. Know what it means or could mean before using it!
- The abbreviation sounds like something else – Case-in-point: FU. We know FU means Follow Up, but just say the whole thing! “FU Jimmy” said out loud isn’t pleasant. Another example: WTF. The Wisconsin Tourism Federation just couldn’t figure out WTF was wrong with their abbreviation on advertisements. What a shame.
- Ridiculous abbreviations – IMNSHO,
idiotspeople just can’t speak a full sentence these days. They communicate with friends using insane initialisms and acronyms. Though I have spoken “YOLO,” I think it’s riduculous. It became way too popular and is now overused. Case-in-point #2: ROFLMMFAO2POHAIPM. Don’t ask me, look it up on Yahoo answers.
- Wrong abbreviation – As they say, IIIO (Intel inside, idiot outside). Abbreviations are less letters and can’t always be fixed by spell check. Be aware!
- The abbreviation suffers from redundancy – This is the worst, most unforgivable crime of them all. See below.
LORE (learn once, repeat everywhere) – Do you suffer from RAS syndrome? That speaks “redundant acronym syndrome syndome.” For the sake of my (and others’) sanity, take care when using these acronyms and initials:
- ATM Machine: If you say ATM machine, I’ll break your neck.
- SAT Test: Yes, it’s a test, you told us twice. You wonder why you failed it.
- LCD Display: A Best Buy favorite.
- GOP Party: An amateur news station favorite.
- ABS Brake System: A mechanic’s favorite.
- PIN Number: Not getting any better here….
- ISBN Number: Made me laugh when I heard a professor say this.
- Please RSVP: (Shakes head)
- HIV Virus: Yeah…
- UPC Code: Saw this on Amazon once.
- KFC Chicken: Tricky, but still redundant people.
- RBS Bank