Friday, July 22, 2011

Too Quick with the Acronym

What is it with me and acronyms? I seem to have become obsessed. But when I read my post about using pronouns clearly I found that I had used one without explaining it. Shame on me!

I referred in that post to Dave from “HR”. While many people likely knew for what words the acronym stood the proper thing to do would have been to write out the phrase and then give the acronym in parentheses if I intended to use it in the rest of the piece. Thus it should have read, “What if I had written about Don, Ted, and Dave from Human Resources?”

If I had continued to talk about the human resources department I would have included (HR) before the question mark and then I would be free to use HR as an acronym (or an abbreviation, if you will) rather than tediously spelling it out each time. Of course, I could have avoided the whole issue by using the word personnel.

All of that merely means that you and I should watch our use of colloquialisms and common abbreviations in our writing. A shortened term that you commonly use may slip right past your internal editor, as it did mine in this case.

By the by, I have a new favorite acronym that I just couldn’t resist sharing with you all. Apparently there exists out there somewhere an organization called Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human or PHLUSH. I will resist the urge to make puns and just leave my announcement at that.