Homonym, Acronym, Synonym....Oh My!!


Everyone has their own niche, their own aptitudes, talents, etc. One of mine happens to be the English language. Or more precisely, the written English language. My family and friends will swear (at me) to the fact that I can be a *little* fastitidous. (they use *another* word, but this is a family web site) I am the "Designated Editor" for term papers, letters to whomever, resume's, etc., and I have been known to correct letters, upcoming announcements, flyers, etc. that come from SWHNOB's school and send them back. Many are the times, after my little red pen and I are done, that I've been accused of getting a paper cut and bleeding all over the page.

Why do I tell you this? And what the heck does that have to do with the title of this post? Simple. As I said, the written word is something I have an aptitude for, so naturally when reading something military-oriented and it's chock full of nuts....um, acronyms, if it's not something I'm already familiar with like DITY, PCS, TriCare (oh, sorry...that's a cuss word not an acronym.), then I try to figure out what the letters mean. It's a little *game* the military and I have been playing for most of my life. I'll start by seeing if I can figure out a few possibilities for a given acronym and then see which one best fits how it was used. Generally, I'm pretty good at it. (I should be, as I said I've been playing the game for a while now). Every once in a while, though, they throw me a curve.

Take the other day, for instance. As I was perusing through Love My Tanker's "Did You Know?" post, I came across this article, and these acronyms - Fleet and Industrial Supply Center (FISC); personal property shipping offices (PPSO); Defense Personal Property System (DPS); household goods (HHG); and Transportation Operational Personal Property Standard System (TOPS).

Does anyone see the problems here? Anyone? No?

Well, the first one follows the general rule of not including the first letter of the word *and* in the acronym. (That's rule #2 in *'Da Derivative Rules of Acronym Formation* [DDRAF] - henceforth known as *'da rules"). Although just like "i before e except after c", you have to keep in mind the last part of that phrase - "in most cases" - because, sometimes, "and", "of" or "the" will be used just to make the acronym *sound* right.

The second one? No surprises there, either.

Number three? Well, now, that one just isn't playing by *'da rules*. Defense Personal Property System=DPS? Huh? What happened to the second "p"?! It was obviously good enough for PPSO. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it's a "system" not an "office".....which leads one (well, it leads me anyway...) to wonder: if this is the "system" that the "office" is utilizing, will that mean that soon they will have a surplus of "p's"? They gotta go somewhere yanno. Where we gonna put 'em?

Now, just when you've started to come to terms with this new *twist* of a missing "p" along comes household goods, or as the military mucky-mucks (that would be MMM for those of you keeping score.) have declared -- HHG. Um, 'scuse me? Where the H did the extra "h" come from? Yeah, I *know* that "household" has two "h's" in it. But it's all one word! Why did *we* use an extra letter from the middle of a word when poor DPS got short-changed!? (I'm bein' serious here, folks.I hear ya snickerin'.)

Finally, as if dropping a "p" and adding an "h" wasn't confusing enough, along comes TOPS - Transportation Operational Personal Property Standard System. Oh great!! Now we've lost another "p" and an "s"! All these loose consonants just floatin' around!! What are these people thinking!? That's a 5:1 ratio of consonants to vowels -- just in this post alone! Think of all the acronyms DoD has......

*shakes head slowly*


All I gotta say is somebody better do something soon. Or we're gonna need one serious vowel movement.


Show Full Article

Military Spouse Videos

View more