Monday, October 22, 2012

Cutting Down on Acronyms and Jargon

Some of the most common edits a PR person needs to make when working with source material provided by others is the handling of acronyms and jargon.  Unfortunately, there are times when even the communicators themselves can fall into a rut of over-using certain acronyms and jargon.

Since the goal of all writing is to be understood by as many people as possible who might read the content, it’s never a good idea to include such short-hand without explanation.  Consider this excerpt from William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White’s “The Elements of Style:”

“Do not use initials for the names of organizations or movements unless you are certain the initials will be readily understood. Write things out…A good rule is to start your article by writing out names in full, and then, later, when the reader has got his bearings, to shorten them.

“Many shortcuts are self-defeating; they waste the reader’s time instead of conserving it.  There are all sorts of rhetorical stratagems and devices that attract writers who hope to be pithy, but most of them are simply bothersome.  The longest way round is usually the shortest way home, and the one truly reliable shortcut in writing is to choose words that are strong and sure-footed to carry the reader on his way.”  

It couldn’t be said any better.

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