Use Your Words

Today’s post is brought to you by whoever decided that the “Milford” street sign in my neighborhood had suddenly graduated into something else a little sexier.


Let’s pretend MILF stands for: Masking Identifiable Letters Fashionably

It also got me thinking about how our language has become full of a bunch of words and abbreviations that almost seem like a second language in and of themselves, one that often mandates a (humorous and educational) trip to Urban Dictionary.

Because I’m an editor, I do read and write most things in AP style and have a few pet peeves when it comes to grammar and language. But the whole modern text/Twitter speak thing leaves me RME, which I recently learned is “rolling my eyes” and not just some dyslexic adaptation for “REM sleep” or a rock group. 

I know “RT” means “retweet,” but had no clue “MT” meant “modified tweet” and not “mountain time.” And although I am fully aware of the meaning assigned to “WTF,” I prefer it to mean “Where’s the food?”

Plus, I’m pretty sure people just start making up their own acronyms simply to confuse people, which makes me want to KTCOOT (kick the crap out of them.)

Now I understand that this bastardization of the language is going to happen with texts and Tweets and I’m not so old that I’ll complain about that. But just for the record, “was” is just as many letters as “wuz,” so there’s absolutely no excuse for that one.

Anyway, I am going to complain about the fact that some people have taken to using acronyms in verbal communication—as in, when talking face-to-face (IRL, for those of you confused by the verbiage.)

I’m not talking about the old school ASAP or FYI—those actually have a concrete meaning in the conversation—but rather things like LOL, ROFLMAO and OMG. In my opinion (IMO), they are just about the most ridiculous things adults can use in a conversation.

If you reply to what I said with “ROFLMAO,” I can clearly see that you are not actually rolling on the floor laughing your ass off and “BRB” is just as many syllables as “be right back.”

This epidemic has also spread into abbreviating other words that shouldn’t be abbreviated—“adorbs,” “obvs” and “addy” come to mind—as if it’s physically too much work to add on the extra syllables to say “adorable,” “obviously” and “address.”

Then there are those people who actually say ‘”hashtag,” as in “I ran into my ex— ‘Hashtag’ awkward!” This makes me immediately want to “unfollow” them so I don’t sink into the depths of language bastardization that leaves them sounding like Valley Girls…or a Target cashier. 

At any rate, I miss the days when people actually laughed out loud or completed whole sentences. Then again, if these things hadn’t crept up into our modern vernacular, a street sign with cleverly placed masking tape wouldn’t have inspired a ranting blog post.

And that, my friends, would have been totes ridic.


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40 responses to “Use Your Words

  1. I couldn’t agree more! I can’t tell you how irritated I get when I ACTUALLY laugh out loud at something (like this post), and I not only have to feel like a chump for typing it all the way out (because I refuse to LOL), but I also have to emphasize that no, seriously, I LITERALLY laughed out loud, since people will say they LedOL when really they mean they found something mildly amusing and had a Silent Thought Chuckle (STC).

  2. When I first start using the twitter I tried to be with the cool kids. I used a lot of hastags and said things in code and basically aped anyone else’s style. This was classic fear and loathing.

    Being online is the best and worst thing in the world. The least you can do is be yourself and have your own style that doesn’t annoy.

    I probably fail at these edicts but I swear I try. Also, I only laugh out loud, maybe 5 times a year in my real life. I never say oh my god. So, you have my word I will never type those LOL and OMG.

    If I do, umsas – unfollow my stupid ass

    • You know there’s a difference between those trying to hard and those not trying at all. You could never be annoying, and even if you were, that’s my problem–not yours 😉

  3. I’ll admit that I’ve occasionally let slip an acronym IRL (in real life), but it’s mostly when I’ve spent too much time with my FIMC (friends in my computer) and not enough time with my in-person BFFs that it happens. 😉

    • Ha! I’ve done it before as well. It happens! But the people that do it constantly and even in a professional capacity? That leaves me SMH…

  4. I understand the evolution of language and the shortening of sentences and words due to the texting phenomenon, but there are large numbers of people that are never learning how to spell or use proper grammar. Most of the writing being done is not in an academic setting but on Facebook and other social sites. While I have nothing against these platforms, language ability is falling off fast.

    I would hate to see how a newspaper is going to read a generation from now.

  5. I can’t believe people actually say ROFLMAO out loud – that’s so many letters! I use some of the more basic ones online regularly (WTF is a friend to me). I can’t think of any i actually say out loud….maaybe b-t-dubs (by the way), which I agree is totally annoying but I picked it up from my friends so its only half my fault…

    • WTF is a friend to me as well, and using things online is different than in person/professionally. We all let them slip, but when you make it a habit, I will be tempted to KTCOOY. Just sayin’…(which is another one.)

  6. Yes! This bugs me so much hearing grown woman squealing “Oh EM GEE!!” out in public. I spend a lot (way more than I should) of time online and using social media, but I still have the ability to speak like a human being to real live actual people. So I think it’s a case of trying-to-be-cool-itis.

  7. I’m totally using KTCOOT.
    If I ever heard an adult use this crap out loud, I would literally LOL at them. And not in a nice way. My niece said I was cra cra this week and it didn’t look good on a 13 yr. old, either.
    I use LOL occasionally because I am too lazy to type that I laughed out loud. I’m easily amused, so you can believe I did indeed LOL when you said KTCOOT.

  8. IMHO people use those damn acronyms way too much… ha ha ha… and I really hate when I have to google some new damn expression or acronym to figure out what the kids or the geeks are saying these days…

    Love love love the street sign… is there a DILF avenue nearby perhaps???

  9. I become extremely annoyed when kids change the word of to ov! What does that achieve other than drawing peoples attention to your poor spelling?!

  10. My poor mother uses these abbrevs (ha!) in texting and I don’t think she knows entirely what they mean. For example, last week I received a text saying “OMG would you pick up pickles at the farmer’s market?”

  11. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    This is one of my favorite posts of yours. I like your WTF 🙂 I find out the meaning of a new abbreviation all the time and mostly I’m just irritated I couldn’t figure it out on my own.
    Some people say these things out loud and then I shout “WHO ARE YOU?” right in their face.

  12. “I miss the days when people actually laughed out loud or completed whole sentences.” Agreed.

    But you’re right. Not posting about this would have been totes ridic.

  13. OMG – you taught me some new ones! This was a great post – much appreciated by the old “skool” /AP stylers. That’s just awful about that street sign. Geez.

  14. This is another reason why I love HIMYM (totally worth of an abbreviation) because of Barney’s over the top usage of acronyms and ridiculous jargon. *Hashtag* love you!

  15. I can’t even comprehend the teenagers on my Facebook feed. But maybe that’s the point?

  16. I can do nothing except completely agree with everything you said in this post. Using abbreviations all the time, whether it be via text, Twitter or face-to-face, makes me want to slap people. Apparently, I’m just so old school.

  17. This reminds me of one of my favorite someecards that says “I am doubting your claims that you are lol’ing as much as you say you are”.

  18. Rolling with laughter. Great post

  19. Recently, I was informed by my friends that I was misusing “brevity”. Or that I do so twice in rapid succession.

    Or, rather, one friend clued me in, the others proceeded to make fun. #myfriendsarenerds

    Is that what you mean here? Oh wait.

    PS I totes say things like “totes” and “oh em gee” and “bee tee dubs”. But it’s because I find it hilarious that they are an acceptable form of communication. Kind of like how I wear fake ugg boats ($20 special at Targeh) and skinny jeans because I think its hilarious that current fashion sense allows me to wear comfy stretch pants and slippers in public.

  20. I always feel so ancient when I see those things. I mean, I know a lot of them, but some of them are way past my knowledge of popular abbreviations. #i’molddammit

  21. We,ve become such a culture of acronyms. This is just dumbing us down even more. Totes ridic 4 shr.

  22. I hate text speak. In fact, I seriously question my friendships with the people who text me using acronyms and the like.

    Yesterday, a friend responded to a mildly humorous text I had sent him with,‘lol’. Just that. ‘Lol’. It took all of my might to not text him back with, “Really? Are you REALLY laughing out loud? It wasn’t that funny, surely?”

    I didn’t though. Because he’s a really great guy and I’m just a grump.

  23. Agreed. A friend actually said LOL the other day and I called her out on it. Um, or you could just laugh out loud I CAN hear you.

  24. I thought MT meant “me too.” I’ll be damned. I learn something new about these interwebs every damn day.

  25. Totes ridic!!! Luv this! Reminds me of a line from a Hollywood cutie =)

  26. kelleysbreakroom

    This was so very awesome. I LOL’d all over the place. I’d like to write a whole blog post about how annoying some nicknames can be. I have a friend that shortens everyone’s name. This is okay with me if the name is Jennifer or Susan or something. I just don’t like it for names like “Abby”, for example. It can’t be “Ab”! Or can it? Are you Ab? One other thing. I loooooved the street sign. I would’ve loved it more if you were the duct taper. Anyway, thanks for linking up with #findingthefunny!

  27. Wait— I thought MT was for empty!!!

    I am so with you on the syllable thing. And the number of letters thing. And on my phone, since it’s not smart, finding numbers or letters takes the same amount of time, so there’s no reason not to use real words.

    I dont’ use those acronyms in real life, but I do love O.M.G. Even thought it’s the same number of syllables. I can’t explain why I love it so.

  28. A fully professional lawyer type person that I work with has actually said outloud to me during a conversation “OMG” and “B-T-Dubs.” On both occassions I shot her a look and was all, “wait. Did you actually just use text speak in real life conversation?” And she was just like, “um, yeah. Why?” FACEPALM. Yeah, not ok.

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