Memo to acronym nazis

It’s a machine called an “ATM”. Consequently, it’s an “ATM machine”. What kind of number is this? A “PIN”? Ah, a “PIN number”.

I’m afraid the common usage is perfectly correct. Hate to disappoint you, you arrogant twits.

ON OTHER ISSUES: Who the hell came up with multi-lane roundabouts? What were they thinking?

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44 responses to “Memo to acronym nazis

  1. Are you sure it’s not a machine called an ‘Automatic Teller’?

  2. That’s another name for it.

  3. Fred Phillips

    Yes, that’s right – it’s an ATM machine, or automatic teller machine machine. And this is “perfectly correct”? How?

  4. The type of machine it is? One we call an “ATM”.

    Ah, it’s an “ATM machine”.

  5. Fred Phillips

    I agree that it’s a machine, and that we call it an “ATM”, and that a lot of join them together – “ATM machine”. But that doesn’t make it “correct”. Your argument seems to be that “ATM machine” is “correct” simply because that’s what we call it.

  6. Fred Phillips

    a lot of = a lot of people

  7. Your argument seems to be that “ATM machine” is “correct” simply because that’s what we call it.

    Well, that and it makes sense.

    I’ll never accept “should of”. That’s just based on ignorance.

  8. Hey, if they’re ‘ATM machines’ and ‘PIN numbers’ now, why don’t we call them ‘ATMM’s and ‘PINN’s?

    And ‘AFL football’, and ‘NRL rugby’, and ‘ARU rugby’, hey – we could call them ‘AFLF’, ‘NRLR’, and ‘ARUR’.

    There’s no way this thing could go wrong!

  9. Well, that and it makes sense.
    But it doesn’t make sense.

  10. Jeremy, I have read your material for years, and I think this is the single post where I have disagreed with you the most.

    Q : “[Points at thing on building wall] What is this?”

    A : “Its an ATM, which stands for Automatic Teller Machine”.

    Someone will call it an “ATM Machine” and I will, from the context, understand what they mean. Just as if they say that they “played really good” in the football game, I will understand what they mean.

    This doesn’t make them less wrong.

    To put it another way :

    Q : Here is a machine. What is it called?
    A: It is called an ATM, or Automatic Teller Machine.
    NOT
    A : It is an ATM Machine, or Automatic Teller Machine Machine.

    How does “Automatic Teller Machine Machine” ‘make sense’???

    And how does that make me an arrogant twit?

  11. It’s because we disagree with him Smurf!

  12. “How does “Automatic Teller Machine Machine” ‘make sense’???”

    It doesn’t, because the word “machine” when you spell the acronym out makes “automatic teller” the type of machine, not “automatic teller machine”.

    But “ATM” is also the type of machine, as we use it in that broader sense. Hence it being arrogant to dismiss “ATM machine” as “incorrect”.

  13. It’s not an acronym, it’s an initialism, pedantic? Yep, but so is this topic 😉

  14. You should of thought harder about this post Jeremy.

  15. Ha. Actually, it’s working out exactly as planned.

  16. Anyway, I think that ATM Machine is wrong even though it’s common around here, as is the pronunciation of the letter ‘H’ as haitch, people tell me I’m wrong when I say ‘aitch’. Really though what’s important is that we understand what each other are saying.

  17. “Who the hell came up with multi-lane roundabouts? What were they thinking?”

    How many lanes? Two is fine. I guess it depends on how many lanes are feeding the roundabout.

    I love roundabouts, I’m from the home of the roundabout:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/southeast/sites/cwmbran/pages/article_richardbarton.shtml

  18. “Should have” people, “should have” – not “should of”.

  19. That’s the point – and you sound just like my mother.

    Rob – isn’t someone in the inner lane of a multi-lane roundabout compelled to cross into the outer lane and cut off someone else?

  20. Hmmmmm, Good point.. Trying to visualise…

    I don’t think so if used properly, left lane for left turns, right or left for straight through, right for right,…

    Nah bugger it, you’re right, thing is though I’ve used multi-lane roundabouts zillions of times and not really encountered the problem, multi-lane roads feeding single lane roundabouts would be a total bottleneck.

  21. Rob – isn’t someone in the inner lane of a multi-lane roundabout compelled to cross into the outer lane and cut off someone else?

    Not necessarily – they could drive endlessly around the middle lane until they run out of petrol and require towing to a servo.

    Then it would be the tow-truck that cuts off the outer lane.

    But seriously – multi-lane roundabout etiquette is that if you’re in the outer lane you must take the next exit, ergo you will never get cut off.

  22. Having spent more than eight years as a professional pedant (ie a major part of my paid employment was to spot and correct these kinds of mistakes), you are completely wrong.

    “But “ATM” is also the type of machine, as we use it in that broader sense. ”

    Any machine is a machine in the broader sense. So, by your logic, you should say “car machine”, “computer machine”, “lawnmower machine”, etc.

    On the other hand, this is OP trolling, so you win in the end.

    On the gripping hand, you lose by Godwin’s Law.

  23. “So, by your logic, you should say “car machine”, “computer machine”, “lawnmower machine”, etc.”

    You’ve turned “could” into “should”. I’m not saying you should say “ATM machine”, but that it’s not “incorrect”.

    Your examples aren’t “wrong”, either, although they’re hardly in common use.

    “On the other hand, this is OP trolling, so you win in the end.”

    Ah, you noticed.

  24. How about washing machine machine?

  25. It’s a machine called an ATM; therefore, it’s an ATM machine.

    It’s a machine, called an ATM machine; therefore, it’s an ATM machine machine.

    It’s a machine, called an ATM machine machine; therefore, it’s an ATM machine machine machine.

    It’s a machine, called an ATM machine machine machine; therefore, it’s an ATM machine machine machine machine.

    It’s a machine, called an ATM machine machine machine machine; therefore, it’s an ATM machine machine machine machine machine.

    And the tune is my own invention.

  26. It’s common to see trolls. Often enough they’re successful. It’s rare to see someone troll their own blog and be successful. FTW.

  27. How come you gone all stoopid Jeremy? I fought you was an interlectrural.

  28. You must be very bored today Jeremy.

  29. IT was a long trip to Ballarat and back.

  30. Multi-lane roundabouts?? You easily intimidated fool!

    Check this sucker out:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Roundabout_%28Swindon%29

    I had to negotiate this fucker for a year. I don’t care what the locals said, you just avoided it at all costs!

  31. We need more roundabouts here. You know, it’s a pain in the arse waiting for a red light when there’s no traffic. Not to mention a waste of fuel thus more CO out the exhaust.

  32. Thanks, cemil – via your link, the Roundabout Appreciation Society.

    And I thought Monty Python was being silly!

  33. I was thinking about something somewhat related to this yesterday ..

    If we call them fire engines, why don’t we call ambulances “casualty engines” and police cars “criminal engines?”

    These are the things that keep me awake at night ..

  34. And ‘AFL football’, and ‘NRL rugby’, and ‘ARU rugby’, hey – we could call them ‘AFLF’, ‘NRLR’, and ‘ARUR’.

    Continuing on from this earlier point, it strikes me now we could probably find a way, through creative acronymising and incorrect word usage, to turn the AFL into the ALFALFA.

  35. Speaking of the use of acronyms — a few years ago I had the opportunity to look at an instruction manual for the original IBM 3624 ATM.

    It referred to something called an ‘AMD’ …. took me a little while to realise that it was the fan, they were using a 3 letter acronym to replace a 3 letter word 😛 — it stood for ‘Air Movement Device’ — I kid you not.

  36. LOL – Happy New Year Gavin.

    That would be an air movement device device device machine

  37. Thanks Rob, Happy New Year to you too 🙂

    I find acronyms all too confusing — I just wish people would stick to plain English.

  38. OH yeah, I’m a STPE guy too.

  39. “It’s rare to see someone troll their own blog and be successful. ”

    Have you heard of Andrew Bolt?

  40. “OH yeah, I’m a STPE guy too.”

    Come on Jeremy, I’ll never believe that — you’re a lawyer after all 😉

  41. I once got a letter from my bank that gave me not just a PIN, not even a PIN number, but a personal PIN number.

  42. I’ll remember this the next time my wife needs to stop by the nearest automatic teller ATM machine…

  43. Having had two near-misses on multilane roundabouts lately, I don’t have an issue with the road design, just stupid people who do stupid things. Turning right from the left lane while I am beside you is a bad plan. Otherwise these are great pieces of infrastructure.

  44. Jeremy, just wait until you see the “magic roundabout” in central Swindon. Not only is it two lane, it goes in both directions.

    Everyone hates it.

    (There’s another similiar roundabout outside St. Albans in London’s north west. These things are built as a ring of 5 or 6 mini roundabouts, so it’s possible – and required in many circumstances – to reverse direction at a mini roundabout and go around the ring in the opposite direction. )

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