RE: Acronyms, abbreviations and initalisms

Subject: RE: Acronyms, abbreviations and initalisms
From: Beth Agnew <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2006 11:01:02 -0800

For we purists, every acronym is an initialism, but not every initialism is
an acronym. If one thinks of acronym as the set, and initalisms as a subset,
then the use of acronym ubiquitously is correct. (Gawd, that was pedantic!)

As pointed out, a true acronym is when we pronounce the initials as a word,
as in SCUBA and NATO. IBM is a true initialism and not an acronym because we
never say Ibbem. IRA is an initialism when speaking of the Irish Republican
Army, but an acronym when speaking of Eye-rah, one's individual retirement
account. A uniform resource locator can be either an earl or a URL,
depending on one's way of speaking.

I suppose if one wanted to force initialism over acronym, we'd write
S.C.U.B.A. rather than scuba.

Presenting "Podcasting & Vidcasting: The Future of TechComm"
at the STC Conference, Las Vegas, NV, 2 p.m. Wednesday May 10, 2006.

Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416-491-5050 x3133


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Re: Acronyms, abbreviations and initalisms: From: arroxaneullman

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