WILAAAI (What I Learned About Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms)

So, I have always thought the words “abbreviation” and “acronym” were somewhat interchangeable, and I didn’t even know the word “initialism” existed. So I think it’s safe to say that this was a very beneficial blog for me to read.

I learned that at acronyms, and initialisms are both types of abbreviations. Any shortened form of a word is considered an abbreviation, but there are different types. “Nov.” is an abbreviation for November but it is not an acronym or initialism.

Initialisms are shortening a multi word title by using the first letter for each word. For instance, “CIA” is an initialism for “Central Intelligence Agency.”

Acronyms are a little bit different. They a similar to initialisms in most ways, but what sets them apart is there ability to be pronounced. Example: National Aeronautics and Space Administration is shortened to the acronym NASA. But the difference is, one says NASA not N.A.S.A. as one would say C.I.A.

It surprises me that every time I think I have grammar all figured out, it becomes apparent that it is more complex than I have realized. As a person who is sorta bilingual (I pretty much speak spanish), I feel like English has a lot of loopholes, exceptions, and hidden rules that seem to pop up when you least expect it.  Ok, I may be over-dramatizing, but it’s how I feel.

It is apparent that Grammar Girl will be a faithful sidekick of mine and an often used secret weapon. Hopefully with time, I will be half as knowledgable about writing as she is.



4 thoughts on “WILAAAI (What I Learned About Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms)

  1. What is this initialism thing? I had never even heard of it, but it does make sense that there’d be a different name for whether we spell it out, or turn it into it’s own word. You’re right, English is weird, and it’s my first language! I can’t imagine having to learn it as a second language.

  2. Pingback: Blog Comments: COMM 2423 | Jumping In

  3. Pingback: Guest Blogger-Daniel Barcelo | let me speak.

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