Editorial Pet Peeves

July 26, 2010

In honor of the Bureau Chiefs (those witty folks behind @FakeAPstylebook) putting some new swag up on Zazzle, I’m sharing some writing mistakes that make my red ink boil.

As a primer, an acronym, according to the journalist’s bible, is “a word formed from the first letter or letters of a series of words.” A fairly simple concept, right? Unfortunately, no.

Redundant ATM Sign

Having worked at a bank for a little over two years I saw a lot of  butchering of one acronym in particular from bankers and customers alike. This sign was proudly displayed at a local restaurant (killer fish fry, not so stellar signage). It illustrates a most egregious and wide-spread phenomenon, redundant-acronymia, a highly contagious yet curable disease. Again, we’ll refer to the bible:

ATM Acceptable in all references for automated teller machine. Do not use the redundant ATM machine.

Citi Visa CardRedundant-acronymia afflicts all organizations, not just those who can’t afford an editing staff.  I submit exhibit 2, the back of my Citi purchasing card.  What’s your excuse, Citi?

Other equally obnoxious occurrences of redundant-acronymia include PIN number and VIN number.

If I still worked at the bank, I’d wear this pin daily and maybe poke people with it, too.

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