Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I applaud an hamster ...

... because that's how I always remembered that classic Python line (which involved elderberries also), but people, please, it's not an FAQ, it's a FAQ.

First, if there were ever an initialism that is indisputably an acronym, it's FAQ, and second, saying it as a word carries the sense that it is a thing (a list, a page, what have you). Saying "an FAQ" makes you think you should say "an F … A … Q" which then makes you think you should really expand the letters into the words they stand for, which makes you think the abbreviation needs to be proceeded by "a list of."

Do you want to pronounce each letter? No, you want to say things like "Just the FAQs, Jack."

Plus, think of the energy savings from omitting all those incorrect Ns.

Other than that, TweetProgress.us is a nice idea and a fine-looking website.


Jack said...

Huh. This is interesting. I've been working on web sites since 1997, and I think I could count on one had the times I've heard people pronounce FAQ as a word, and on those few occasions when someone did try to pronounce it as a word, they always did so tentatively and uncertainly, as though they suspected it was wrong. Everyone I know calls it "an F-A-Q," i.e., with each letter spoken.

I had no idea other people thought it was just obviously supposed to be pronounced the other way.

Brendan said...

Maybe it's a regionalism. My experience (NY, New England, and southern California) has been that the only people who pronounced it as an initialism were the n00bs.

Jack said...

Huh. I wonder why people in those regions are wrong.


Brendan said...

Well, you can't really expect proper English from people who aren't RealAmericans, can you?