Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thoughts on Redundancy

Do you type your PIN number in at the ATM machine? Well, stop it!

Okay, that was rude. Stop it, please. You see, our society is full of thoughtless redundancies. Your "PIN number" is your "Personal Identification Number number," and the "ATM machine" is the "Automated Teller Machine machine." It's the acronyms that are causing the problem.

The problem isn't that people like being redundant. The problem is they don't realize they're repeating themselves. Some people just don't stop and think about it, but the longer an acronym is in existence the fewer people there are who actually know what the acronym stands for. When we don't know what words are already represented in the acronym, we are more likely to add on unnecessary words.

Do you use scuba gear? Scuba stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Apparatus is a synonym for gear. Scuba gear is redundant. Have an IRA account? That's an Individual Retirement Account account. Similar to the PIN number is the VIN number, Vehicle Identification Number number.

So think about it before taking your SAT test.

What other redundant acronyms can you think of?