The Death Of Acronyms And Initialisms

The Death Of Acronyms And Initialisms

Writers Write is a comprehensive writing resource. In this post, our guest blogger writes about the death of acronyms and initialisms.

Plain language means bigger tombstones. Immediately you sigh, relieved that you are not an undertaker or a headstone carver. But, alas, the business of dying, profitable as it is, is not the only business in need of change.

MUST-Read: Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms

Acronyms And Initialisms Mean Business – For Some

Initialisms are abbreviations that are pronounced one letter at a time, e.g., ATM, EFT
Acronyms are abbreviations that are pronounced as words, e.g., ASAP, SARS
  1. ATM, EFT, SME, GST are initialisms used by banks to cover up what looks like stealing.
  2. IUV, IV, ECG are used by doctors to justify fees that are sometimes triple medical aids’ rates. The more used in one sentence the more expensive the doctor will be.
  3. SARS? Need I say more?

The Death Of Acronyms And Initialisms

Plain Language has saved us all. Gone are the days of serrated words. Gone is the incomprehensible grouping of consonants. Yes, gone are the letters on your tombstone. We like vowels. We like consonants. We like it when they make words. Whole words.
RE: HCM AGM RSVP ASAP NB  is not a sentence. It’s what happens when your child plays office and types imaginary letters on your computer.
Yet it says the following: Regarding: Human capital management annual general meeting reply required as soon as possible. It is important.

So how do you use an acronym or an initialism?

Properly of course. The first time the abbreviation is used its meaning should be written out in full: RIP (Rest in Peace), EFT (Electronic Financial Transaction) and only after that can it be used as a standalone word.

Try talking the way you type. It sounds as if you are singing the alphabet song. Rather type the way you talk, that is the first step to writing in plain language.

After all, you don’t invite your BFF for a BLT at KFC do you? No you don’t.Only a person who wears their bling to breakfast could pull it off and chances are, if you are reading this, you are not of school going age or a member of an LA-based rap group.

So rest in peace little acronym and initialism, or as they say in the army, HUA!

PS: I think this means that KFC will have to acknowledge that they don’t sell chicken.

 by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this article, read these posts:

  1. 93 Extremely Bad Business Writing Habits To Break
  2. Punctuation For Beginners: What Is Punctuation?
  3. Grammar For Beginners: All About Parts Of Speech
  4. Commonly Confused Abbreviations: etc., i.e., e.g.
  5. How To Deflate Those Inflated Phrases

[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]

Posted on: 27th June 2011

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