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Saturday, September 20, 2014

I flunked the initialism test!

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that become our epiphanies. The one I got today is—at least in part—the epiphany that not all epiphanies are grand or even all that useful. Or even necessarily something we weren’t aware of before So maybe I didn’t experience epiphany at all; maybe it was more like hearing Sinatra sing, “As the gentlemen said, ain’t that a kick in the head.”

Whatever it was, it came in the form of a little quiz in Time magazine based on the Oxford book of slang and it came because maybe—just maybe—my idea of learning computer stuff on a need-to-know basis has left me with some really huge knowledge gaps. Or maybe it was because I hate initialism (and, by extension acronyms) so bad that I have a mental block. 

Readers were supposed to “unpack these abbreviations:”
  1. ICMI
  2. SMH
  3. WDYT
  4. YOLO

In spite of the verb “unpack” which seems slightly inaccurate, I correctly realized that Time wanted me to recognize what the initials stand for. They gave no hints. Like, “Beware: If you don’t text, you may find this extra difficult.” Or “Watch it! If you hate initialism and acronyms , you’ll be annoyed by this.”  It just presented me with these four tests that looked like the old scrambled word game I knew as a child.

I didn’t know any of them. Score, a big fat zero. In case you want to see if you can best me (hint, you are certain to tie or do better!), here are the answers.

1.   ICMI: In case you missed it . . .
2.   SMH: Shaking my head . . .
3.   WDYT: What do you think . . .
4.   YOLO: You only live once . . .

The only positive thing I can say about this lowest test score of all time is that my as-needed-philosophy may need some exposure to younger folk. I mean, I was beginning to find LOL clichéd.

Happy writing, editing and promoting,

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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