Ack! Abolish those acronyms

Acronyms kill rhythm and readability in your prose.

Acronyms kill rhythm and readability in your prose. Resisting them is tough, but you must do it if you want people to read what you’ve written

I’m reading a well-written newsletter put out by a large East Coast energy company.

Well-written, that is, in every respect but its writers’ infatuation with acronyms. The lead story shows the self-indulgence and anarchy that prevail.

The second paragraph of the story begins: “On Aug. 8, 2005 the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) was signed into law.”

Stop! Never combine the letters of an acronym with a real word. Usually, writers who make up a new acronym that duplicates an already well-known old acronym (in this case, “EPA”) don’t care about the possibility of confusion. Or they think it a small price to pay for their pressing need to save 15 or 20 characters.

But these writers succumbed to an attack of conscience. The first time they referred to the legislation, they could not bring themselves to write: “Energy Policy Act (EPA).” Instead, they wrote “Energy Policy Act (EPAct).”

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