Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Short changed on abbreviations. Here's 1 4 U ........

24 September 2015

We saw a story recently which complained bitterly about not being able to understand abbreviations.  It was in the Daily Mail, which is often abbreviated to “rag”.  Unfortunately, the story missed the point entirely - concentrating not on abbreviations, but entirely on acronyms, FGS (for goodness’ sake).  Quick, send the FGS (Flying Grammar Squad) round to OCS (One Canada Square) pronto. 

Back though to the survey.  Sorry, story.

An arbitrary percentage of people, which may or may not have been derived from the statically required min. of 2000 respondents, claimed they had a better chance of deciphering the likes of LOL, OMG, and IMHO, than getting to grips with ATM, ISA, and HMRC.  Well, “laughing out loud” and “oh my giddy-aunt” are self evident, and In My Humble Opinion - while many people may not actually know the literal meanings of ATM, ISA, and HMRC, most people know they really mean “get my money”, “save my money” and “take my money away again”.

Acronyms and abbreviations, once the confusing reserve of the more complicated definitions in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) , are now everywhere, often slipping under the radar (Radio Detection And Ranging as we’re sure you knew).

The English (omni)bus and the American auto(mobile) are two cases in point.  Use anything other than the contraction and people look at you strangely. 

Of course accountants are not averse to using abbreviations either – for example, we talk about your P&L (Profit and Loss account), NP% (Net Profit percentage) not to mention your MI (Management Information).  Some clients might have a Myocardial Infraction at the very sight of the last one!

Finally, we would like to finish with this abbreviated conundrum:  “How R U?” What do people who text this actually do with all the time they save?


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Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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