Archive for May, 2012


Acronyms and Clichés

Keep it Simple Stupid-KISS-is an acronym I learned a long time ago. Don’t ask me where or when. Probably when I joined the Navy and began my self-educational program over a half-century ago and which I have not yet completed. Anyway, I’m going to give you my opinion on how to KISS when writing, if I am not sidetracked along the way.

This morning I began surfing the internet to find the latest on clichés (a phrase or word that has lost its original effectiveness or power from overuse) and acronyms (a word formed from the initials or other parts of several words, e.g. “NATO,” from the initial letters of “North Atlantic Treaty Organization). If this habit of me giving definitions of words irritates you, please accept my apologies. I like to make sure we are on the same page.

First off, what is simple to one is not so simple to another. The first site I landed on did not have much to say about acronyms or clichés. It was a group of professors discussing someone’s review of an essay on the fifth edition of the American Heritage Dictionary. More specifically about rules and how they change from time to time and person to person.

Here is one person’s post.

If a student so badly misunderstood simple ideas expressed in clearly-written texts, the usual response would be to bemoan the decline of critical reading skills in kids today.

I would actually would like to test the idea that the essays are clearly written. I haven’t read them (I don’t own the latest AHD), so I don’t have an opinion one way or the other. But I think it would be interesting to get 100 college educated adults who speak english fluently to read both essays and see if their interpretation matches the author’s intention, more closely follows Acocella’s, or something else.

Come again. Is it just me or is this person being facetious? I read this a dozen times before a spark of understanding began to glow. I copied and pasted the above. It doesn’t appear this gentleman proofed his post. But then it’s just a blog. anything goes on blogs.

See there, I got off on a tangent before I got started.

So, what did I find on my long search session? Nothing I did not already know. Well, one of those professors said that the “who”/“whom” distinction may be on its way out. Doesn’t that tickly your fancy? Why, I’m tickled pink.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you KISS and don’t get too involved in what you are writing.

Remember to who/whom you are writing. This is something I seldom do. I make an a$$ of myself pretty much to everyone.

Whenever you write an acronym the first time, spell it out. This is something that irritates me to hell and gone. This is something we are going to have to become use to. Is that too many tos? With this new age of texting, we old fogies need to learn a new language. I’m sorry, but I haven’t got the old one down pat yet. BTW-(by the way)-All these phrases in italics are clichés. Know what I mean?

Well, that’s it. They ain’t much one can say about the two subjects. However, I found some long-winded bloggers out there. Them just didn’t know how to KISS. Lastly, like just about everything else in writing, if it feels good, do it. Do it the way that feels right for you. Who knows, you may come up with a novel way of doing it. Until next we meet, have a pleasant day. KISS KISS. Thanks, it’s been fun Ray


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