Code of Acronym Law

Section 1: Questionable Violation (Punishable by a silent shaking of the head in disgust)

  • 1.1   Acronym Overuse:  Using acronyms for almost a complete sentence or using acronyms that are not known by and have not been defined to your audience.
  • 1.2   Questionable Redundancy:  Using one word found in the acronym before or after using the acronym when the definition of the acronym is debated.   An example of a section 1 paragraph 2 violation would be NIC Card.  The commonly accepted definition of NIC is “Network Interface Card”.  Some people hold that NIC stands for “Network Interface Controller”, in which case NIC card would be an acceptable use.  While these are debated areas, it is best to avoid placing a word contained in any of the possible acronym definitions before or after the acronym.

Section 2:  Single Acronym Violations (Punishable by shaking of the head in disgust with a slight grin and/or slightly audible groan or chuckle)

  • 2.1   Single Word Acronym Violations:  Single Word Acronym Violations consist of using one of the words contained in the acronym immediately before or after the acronym.  An example of this would be ATM Machine.  Since ATM stands for “Automated Teller Machine” saying ATM Machine is actually saying Automated Teller Machine machine.
  • 2.2   Single Use of a Multiple Word Violation:   An example of this would be Automated ATM Machine.  A violation of section 2 paragraph 2 would take place when a multiple word violation occurred only once in a complete conversation.  A multiple word acronym violation is a serious offence and can only be covered under section 2 when it is the only violation in an entire conversation.  If the multiple word violation occurs multiple times or along with other violations, is becomes a section 3 or 4 offence.

Section 3: Multiple Acronym Violations (Punishable by all previous forms of punishment, plus immediate correction and slight ridicule)

  • 3.1   Multiple Word Violations:  A section 3 multiple word violation occurs when an acronym is used along with two or more words included in the acronym in conjunction with other acronym offences or multiple times in a single conversation (all multi-word violations not covered by 2.2).  An example conversation containing a section 3 paragraph 1 offence is included below: Joe:  “Excuse me Chuck, do you know where an automated ATM machine is located.”
    :  “Yes, there is one in the restaurant just around the corner.”
    :  “Do you know if it is a First Bank of Redundant Redundancy automated ATM machine?”
    : (shakes head, frowns in disgust and groans within himself) “Shut up Joe”
  • 3.2    Multiple Repeat Violations:  A section 3 paragraph 2 offence occurs when multiple redundant acronyms are used in the course of a conversation.  An example of a section 3 paragraph 2 violation would be “Honey, what is your PIN number, I need to take some money out of the ATM machine.  If I have to go into the bank, they are going to ask for my SSN number and I can’t remember it”.

Section 4: Violations of an Acronym Created by you or Your Company (Punishable by all previous forms of punishment, plus extreme ridicule).

An example of a section 4 violation can be found by booting a computer running Windows 2000.  The splash screen displays the message “Built on NT Technology”.  Windows NT was the predecessor to Windows 2000.  It stood for “Windows New Technology”.   So the Windows 2000 splash screen actually reads “Built on New Technology Technology” (pictured below).