Tag Archives: NASA

I’ve Been AWOL

I haven’t posted in a while because I spent the last 10 days having a houseful of guests including our two precious grandchildren. We spent the time hitting some of the cultural highlights, including exhibits on Pompeii, Byzantium, dinosaurs, gems and minerals, and a stellar art exhibit at the LA County Museum, entitled “From Van Gogh to Kandinsky,” one I consider perhaps the best show LACMA has ever mounted.

Looking at what I titled this post and my mentioning of LACMA reminded me how often I hear people confuse abbreviations with acronyms. All acronyms are abbreviations, but not all abbreviations are acronyms. Acronyms are abbreviations pronounced like words: snafu. fubar, NASA, ASAP, laser, LSAT and GMAT, among others.

 

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Filed under All things having to do with the English language

Making Acronyms Plural

As I’ve mentioned before, an acronym is not a synonym for an abbreviation.  All acronyms are abbreviations, but not all abbreviations are acronyms.

NASA is an acronym—because we pronounce it as a word.

PIN is also an acronym. (Don’t say “PIN number.” That’s redundant.)

USA is not an acronym because we don’t pronounce it as a word; we say each letter.

To make acronyms plural, just add a lowercase s:  All vehicles have PINs. You don’t need an apostrophe before that s. We do write about the Oakland A’s, only because it would look like the word “As” if we didn’t.

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Filed under All things having to do with the English language