Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
||OED say OK...
OED says OMG, FYI, LOL OK
you know what the title of this article means, you are
probably now in the majority of English language users. Yes,
these abbreviations, formerly the property of young people
sending text messages, are now considered actual words.
Who says, you say? Oxford English Dictionary, or OED, as they
define themselves in their own dictionary.
OED is considered by most experts to be the word on words, or
final authority on what is considered authentic usage. The
English language is constantly changing, and the OED updates
four times a year to stay up with the latest trends.
So, while you are busy telling kids to straighten up, quit
being too lazy to spell out words, get rid of the chewing gum,
and pull up their pants, the dictionary is telling them what an
old fuddy-duddy you are and that common electronic abbreviations
are perfectly OK for everyday use.
A word is considered a word when it comes into common usage and
most people know what it means. Words no longer come into use
from teachers or wordsmiths who generally respect formal
language and grammar usage. Words now sneak into the vocabulary
online through the back door of the internet in apps
(applications) such as Twitter, where the number of characters
used in a message is limited to 140 and you can say more by
Text messages on smart phones simply take too long if you
use enough time to type out an entire word say many users, and
so words are abbreviated in a clever way that makes sense
to the sender and receiver, even if it does not make sense to
anyone else. Some of the abbreviations make more sense than
others, and before you know it, everyone is jumping on the
abbreviation bandwagon. Part of the attraction of using the
abbreviations is being in the know and on the cutting edge of a
I must admit that I've been guilty of using all of these
abbreviations in informal writing, and even a few others that I
can't mention here because the dictionary doesn't approve or
them, at least not yet. However, now that certain text
message abbreviations have been officially anointed and blessed
by the dictionary writers, we can probably expect to see them
popping up in all sorts of places: newspapers, magazines,
articles and books as well as on our cell phones.
If you are behind the times, you can only blame yourself. While
you were busy worrying about minor details, such as whether
Google is a noun or a verb, the language kept right on going
down the fast lane as fast as the internet could carry it. BTW
(by the way), Google is both a proper noun and a verb these
days. Pretty soon it will probably be an adjective or an
I kind of suspected things were going south when smiley's
came into common usage as a noun by using symbols that represent
a smiling face. Now "heart" has gone in the same
direction. We used to love finding a new way to express
ourselves. Now we <3 New York, not to mention new words, and
:-) when we think something is funny. Words, it seems, just
won't behave themselves.
We tweet on Twitter, but tweets are tweets, not twits, which are
still very foolish people. Of course, that could all change the
next time the OED is updated. Maybe FYI, OMG, and LOL are not so
bad after all.
There is one realy good thing about the ever-changing world
of the dictionary, IMHO. That is that words can also fall into
disfavor and be removed when they are no longer commonly
Some days I feel so old, if thou knowest what I mean.
Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss
Copyright 2011 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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