I’m not sure if it’s really possible to be a fan of acronyms, but I’ve always had a bit of a weird fascination with abbreviations and shortenings. I had an odd moment of satisfaction when I discovered that the TVR sports car company reflected the name of its owner and founder, Trevor. Despite years of accidentally catching advertscommercials for Bank Holiday sales at MFI, I had no idea until a few weeks ago that the abbreviation stood for Mullard Furniture Industries. And I’d love to meet Mr Block and Mr Quayle, whose orange-tastic stores that sell power tools and fertiliser still bear the B&Q name. Personally, I’m still recovering from the fact that no American would considering using the acronym DIY. Although not spending interminable weekends doing DIY is a concept that I’m much more able to understand.

But when it comes to shortening sentences and phrases into handy-to-text abbreviations, I adopt more of a zero tolerance approach. I’m tough on ridiculous acronyms, tough on the causes of ridiculous acronyms. I appreciate that it’s an attitude that makes me come across like an octogenarian whose cardigans smell of cat pee and Benson & Hedges, but I’ve just got no time for turning everyday phrases or sentences into tiny collections of nonsensical letters.

Until today, I thought it was just British youngsters that engaged in Wanton Acts Of Illicit Shortening. After all, no teen text is complete without a ROFL or TTFN. I’d rather have knives plunged into my intestines than see ‘4eva’, while ‘2moz’ makes me break out in hives. Or break into hives, and sit there until the succession of ever-more-deathly bee stings slowly take away the pain.

But then in a serious business meeting today, I had to remain resolutely unmoved when a visitor used the phrase “I know, I know! TMI, TMI!” It’s bad enough that anybody might decide that it’s appropriate to tell a story that involves ‘too much information’ when in a business setting, but do you really have to speak like you’re a ten year old with language issues? Next I’ll have people be so impressed by my gags that they’ll be LMAO (unlikely I appreciate), or saying TTFN as we say goodbye in the foyer.

The United States has come late to the SMS party, so there’s still hope that it can turn back from adopting this text language before it’s too late. After all, nobody wants the American language even more FUBAR’ed than it already is.

15 thoughts on “FFS

  1. Brooklyn

    Shame on you. In a blog entry about acronymns, you should use them correctly.

    In the last sendtence, it should be “FUBAR,” not “FUBAR’ed”

    The F in “FUBAR” stands for F***ED.

  2. Dylan

    Good point Brooklyn – I did know what the acronym stood for, but the sentence didn’t quite flow correctly without the ‘ed’. But yes, you’re completely correct.

    That said, if you’re going to call me on my English sense, you should probably make sure you spell ‘sentence’ correctly first!

    LOL ROFLMAO etc etc etc

  3. Brooklyn

    Touche, but I offer these ripostes:

    Shame on this site for not having an “edit comment” feature.

    The subject was acronym use, not spelling. If the blog entry was about honor/honour, well, that would a horse of a different color/colour.

  4. Paul Sheffrin

    And let’s be quite clear, an acronym – as defined by the Oxford English dictionary is a word formed by the initial letters of other words (eg LASER, RADAR, AIDS). A group of initials pronounced separately used to abbreviate a phrase is called an initialism. Thus, TLA, which stands for three letter acronym is actually an initialism whereas IVLA (pronounced as it’s spelled and meaning a four letter acronym – check out the Latin four) is an acronym…of sorts!

  5. Karen

    I am guilty of using lol in forum posts and maybe too many emoticons, but as I am sure you may agree, it is hard to get emotion and meaning across on the internet, so that’s my excuse. I do not, however do text talk, in sms or email. I bloody hate it!
    I can never understand what my younger siblings are saying in sms!

  6. Brooklyn

    Is an “anacronym” an acronym inappropriate for the time period in which it is used? Or is the term “anacronysm” ?

  7. LolaBloom

    Oh For Shit’s Sakes…. Just for you, and just this once, I spelled it all out instead of using FSS… However I think I may be inclined to start using FFS instead because I must admit, I do like it better 🙂

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