The appropriate use of acronyms

Acronyms are frequently over-used. They’re only useful when the bulk of the intended audience knows what the acronym means, otherwise people spend more time figuring out what the acronym means.

Sadly I do not yet work entirely for myself so I’m stuck dealing with the corporate world for a little while longer.

One thing about this environment that really irritates me is the use of acronyms. Our quality control department is especially bad at this. In their little bubble it may seem like a great idea to make acronym of commonly used phrases but to outsiders (which of course of 99%+ of the company) these phrases are used infrequently, so acronyms only serve to confuse people because they’re not familiar enough with the terms to make sense of the acronym.

Acronyms only work when the full version of the phrase is sufficiently known that it is immediately apparent what the acronym is. Otherwise if people are needing to take time to look up what the acronym is, their purpose is completely defeated as you’re causing people to expend extra effort to understand what you’re trying to say.

So use acronyms very sparingly, employing them only when it is immediately apparent what the acronym means.

Author: Dave

Dave is many things. Most importantly, he’s a husband and a father to Ellie and Jack. Almost as important, he’s British (though he lives in Florida). Following on from there, he’s a WordPress developer and civil engineer, has an unhealthy love of hummus, is vegan, likes cider, wants to travel to Iceland and Japan, loves solving puzzles and is a realist.

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