Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — ATM Machine?

Posted on: March 4, 2011

Few days back I was reviewing a resume from one of my friends, It had the following statement “Expert in HTML Language.”

Don’t see anything wrong? Read again!

The acronym “HTML” means “HyperText Markup Language”. Hence, when you write “HTML Language”, you are really saying “HyperText Markup Language Language”.

When I was sharing this funny thing to a journalist friend, she told me this is a very common mistake in English, and we do it everyday, unknowingly. These are the other popular examples she gave me:

  • PDF Format
  • PIN Number
  • ATM Machine
  • HIV Virus
  • LCD Display

After she mentioned this, I looked-up the full forms of these acronyms and realized it’s not PDF Format, because “F” in PDF itself means “Format” and no need to repeat it again. Similarly “ATM Machine” is redundant. “ATM” will do fine!

On the other hand, is it really necessary to nitpick like this? In this era of digital communication (Email / Text Messages / Minute-by-minute status Updates etc.,) language seems to be changing from a rigid medium, to a flexible (change-as-you-need) utility. Many argue that as long as the other person understands what you are saying, rules like grammar, spelling, punctuation etc., are just unnecessary. (Believe me, some schools in New Zealand already allow SMS Lingo in Examinations! Gr8!)

So, what do you think? Should we respect the language / common sense and stop saying “ATM Machine”? Or flexibility rules the day? How it will affect our personal / business communication?



N. Chokkan …

04 03 2011


1 Response to "Why Not? — ATM Machine?"

Computer technology has facilitated decrease redundancy and raise efficiency in the banking and retail business sector. ATM Machines are a lot essence of this progress.

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