Acronyms. Love them or hate them, they are now part of our everyday communications.
I am sure we have all heard, and maybe cringed at the new texting shorthand, full of OMGs, BTWs and TMIs (Oh My God, By the Way and Too Much Information – in case you didn’t know).
But these are not actually acronyms. They are initialisms, abbreviations made from the first letter or each word and pronounced as a series of letters. Other initialisms include IT (short for Information Technology and pronounced I.T. not it), ID (Identification), ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) and FYI (For Your Information).
Acronyms are initialisms that make up words or phrases, like LOL (for laugh out loud and pronounced lol not L.O.L.) and Internet (short for Interconnected Networks).
Some words can be both an initialism and an acronym such as ASAP (As Soon As Possible, pronounced either as A.S.A.P. or A Sap) or FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions, which can be pronounced as F.A.Q. fac or fact).
Some abbreviations have become so common place that we often forget they stand for something else. Here are some of our favourites.
Haz Mat – Hazardous Material
LASER – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
RADAR – RAdio Detection And Ranging
SCUBA – Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus or Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA, but pronounced SCUBA)
SOP – Standard Operating Procedure
WD-40 – Water Displacement attempt number 40
CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
WYSIWYG – What You See Is What You Get (pronounced wizzywig)
In our fast paced world abbreviations can be useful. But remember that the purpose of communication is to share information. This means that both parties must understand what is being said. So use initialisms and acronyms carefully and check that the person you are communicating with knows what you are saying.
For further information on communicating in the workplace, contact Pertrain Pty Ltd on (07) 5445 2233.
- Acronym, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acronym
- 25 Abbreviations that you didn’t know about, http://www.sliptalk.com/abbreviations/