Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Acronyms Gone Wild

I realized something strange today: The acronym for “as soon as possible”, ASAP, has a stronger, more urgent meaning that its root. At least that’s how it works in my small mind.

I was typing an e-mail at work today and suggested the recipient follow through on my request ASAP. I looked at it and thought that overstated the urgency. Only after I substituted ASAP with the seemingly less demanding “as soon as possible” did I realize the irony.

For some reason, in my mind, ASAP means RIGHT NOW, while “as soon as possible” means do it in a timely manner but don’t kill yourself getting it done. While usage probably is responsible for most this disconnect, I suspect that having ASAP in all caps and often followed by and exclamation point also plays a part.

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