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A good-sounding abbreviation is not always an acronym

by: Garry Pierrepont (12 November 2009)

I have noticed a growing trend recently to change mnemonics and abbreviations into acronyms.

According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary an acronym is: ďa word formed from the initial letters of other words (e.g. laser, Aids)Ē.

Thatís fine, and those are obviously well-known examples.

Recently, however, trustworthy sources such as the BBC have decided that institutions such as FIFA, UEFA and RICS (Federation of International Football Associations, Union of European Football Associations, and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors respectively) should now be Fifa, Uefa and Rics.

How and why has this happened?

Just because these abbreviations can be read as, and sound reasonable as, words, does not mean that they should be words Ė or acronyms.

I foolishly followed the trend the other day, and put Rics in an article. I was asked by the client to change it to RICS, and, on reflection I knew this to be right.

We should all be careful not to take well-known institutions such as the BBC as the oracle on all matters. It isnít.

So, for me, it will still be FIFA, UEFA and RICS. And, maybe, the Bbc.

Views: 3332

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