Re: Articles with Acronyms

Subject: Re: Articles with Acronyms
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 10:36:14 EST

Jan Boomsliter writes:
>Wait a dadburn minute! Let's see if I've got this right:

>The use of the article depends on assumed common usage, rather than
>what the reader is looking at right there on the paper?

>nnooooooooo

yyessssssss

Everything depends on assumed common usage. I assume you say "an honour",
but "a hole", based on my understanding of common usage. Similarly, I assume
"a scuba diver" and "a laser", as well as "a SCSI drive" (if I were writing
to an audience I thought was unfamiliar with the term, I'd pronounce it for
them: "a SCSI (pronounced scuzzy) drive").

Note that if the acronym is listed in your dictionary, then you don't have
to assume anything: you've already got an answer. If the acronym isn't in
the dictionary yet, well, you expect everything to run smoothly when you
start using new terminology?

Find out as best you can what the audience expects, and do that. If you can't
find out, pick the person sitting next to you and use them. You've got to
have somebody you can blame it on if you're wrong :-)

Later,

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: speaking on my own behalf, not IBM's.


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