Wednesday, December 9


On my radar this morning is an article from Roy Peter Clark at Poynter Online, where he, too, suggests that writers use far too many acronyms.

TMA, BTW, is short for Too Many Acronyms.

Radar, in that first sentence up there, though now in lower-case, was an acronym at one time too: "RAdio Detecting And Ranging". Even the lower-case scuba was once just an acronym: "Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus."

Do we use too many acronyms? Likely so, since many of us who use them on a regular basis have to de-acronym them if we're speaking to someone who may be clueless as to their true meanings.

One of the best-ever examples is this: PCMCIA refers to the ubiquitous rectangular cards slipped into the side of laptops for added functionality, such as wireless connectivity, and for USB connectors where the laptop may not have enough built-in. The correct meaning of PCMCIA is "Personal Computer Memory Card International Association", referring to the organization responsible for ensuring the devices conform to specifications. What the acronym should stand for, however, is this: "People Cannot Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms."

RPC's entire article can be found here.

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