Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Contractions are not always the better choice.
Moderation is the key with our softer writing habits. We walk the line between being real and still being impressive. Let’s consider the increasing habit of shortening our language.
The texting world has created an avalanche of shortened script, and an acronym – using single letters to represent words – makes sense to keep up the pace. When I am communicating for a personal reason, most people understand. DYKWIM?
Annoyingly, I have to google those longer acronyms some of the time.
There are certain terms so largely known that we can safely use them: OMG, WTF, LOL. But honestly, there are a lot of others that just cause a breakdown in the message. When writing professionally, the use of these acronyms can set a tone of “relatable and relaxed,” which is a popular voice to use these days, but be careful with this – the overuse can be off-putting when you sound more juvenile than intended.
Likewise, abbreviated or partial words that are new to our lexicon, like Obvs and Perf, can be amusing, to say the least. We accept the age-old nods to widely known words, like Mr. in place of Mister, or WA instead of Washington state.
However, abbreviations provided without its initial full use can leave us lost, and frankly, annoyed. At least give us the full term prior to the abbreviation. It matters, after all, that Isis is an Egyptian goddess, not to be confused with the more current terrorist group. And Brexit caused the UK to leave the EU. Great! But if you don’t know, then you don’t know. Those writers using these terms should give us a leg up!
Contractions – combining two words into one – is entirely fine much of the time, but never using the extended version can leave your tone increasingly informal, casual to the point of lazy, and promotes its potential misuse. You are can be You’re , but eventually, many will say Your. Moreover, would have becomes would’ve, and then sadly would of.
Grammar and meaning suffers when we never write it out, and so do your literate readers.
2 comments on “Friday Fundamentals for Solid Writing Habits: Full-length Wording or Shortened?”
love this clean concise format… did you crate it? Cheers
Actually Bob helped me!