Favorite

 Robert W. Fureigh writes: “It seems the traditional abbreviation, Ark., is gradually going by the wayside. Unfortunately, the postal abbreviation, AR, seems to have supplanted Ark. in common usage. Lately, aberrations such as AR., Ar and Ar. are increasing in usage. I suppose I need to learn not to cringe.”


Between the terrorists and the e. coli, between global warming and government wire-tappers, a chronic cringe might be appropriate in this modern world. As for state abbreviations, it may comfort Mr. Fureigh to know that there are still conservative publications like the Arkansas Times that uphold the old ways. OK is not OK with us; the proper abbreviation is Okla. Tennessee is still Tenn. in the Times, not TN. California is Calif., not CA.


The old abbreviations are not only prettier, they’re clearer. Who can remember whether MI is Michigan or Minnesota, Mississippi or Missouri? Not me. Is MS Mississippi or Massachusetts or none of the above? With the old abbreviations — Mich., Minn., Miss., Mass. — there was no doubt. Under the new system, AK might be Alaska or Arkansas. AR could be either Arkansas or Arizona. (In the old days, Alaska was one of a handful of states — along with Texas, Ohio et al — that were never abbreviated.)


The Times has not been thrown in jail for its defiance, nor will anyone else. Use of the two-letter abbreviations is not mandatory, though it might be advisable in the case of correspondence, since it was the postal service that promoted the two-letter system.

 Median well:
“ ‘TV is huge,’ Vaughan said. ‘For this generation, TV is such a large median for exposure.’ ”

 Better to ramp up than to cramp up:
“The United States ramped up its evacuation of citizens from Lebanon as a luxury cruise ship carrying 1,000 Americans arrived in Cyprus early today, a week after the Israeli bombardment began.”
This use of the verb ramp is not in my dictionary, but it seems to be everywhere else these days. Evidently it means the same as stepped up — that is, “heightened, increased.”

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

  • Kane Webb leaving Parks and Tourism for Walmart

    Kane Webb is departing as director of the state Parks and Tourism Department to take a job as director of executive communications at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville. Cynthia Dunlap will be the agency's interim director.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • Wednesday: Headlines and the open line

    The video news roundup and the open line.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • Michael Cohen gets three years

    Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former lawyer, was sentenced to three years in federal prison today for a variety of crimes, including accusations related to paying hush money to Trump mistresses to keep their stories out of circulation during the 2016 election campaign. Can't wait for the Trump tweet storm.
    • Dec 12, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Herd shifts

    • Answer: The Russian hacking story was the basis for the whole Russians are on Trump's…

    • on December 12, 2018
  • Re: Herd shifts

    • Tra-la, indeed. And no answer to the question. Why would the DNC alter evidence of…

    • on December 12, 2018
  • Re: Herd shifts

    • And I quote, "Actually, no, I can't think why anybody would suspect that the DNC…

    • on December 12, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation