TLA is NOT a three letter acronym

The definition of an acronym is a word formed by initial letters that can be pronounced as a separate word.

Examples of acronyms are "Laser" (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), "Nato" (North Atlantic treaty organization), and "Ram" (random access memory).

However, "TLA" is not pronounced as a word. Each letter in it is pronounced separately, as as such it's not an acronym. If you want you can call it a three letter abbreviation, but to be more specific it's really an initialism – but that would change the abbreviation from TLA to TLI.

The Guardian style guide also recommends that acronyms are to be written using an initial capital (e.g. Nasa, Nato, Unicef), and that initialisms are to be written in all-caps but without full stops and spaces (e.g. BBC, CEO, IMF).

The lines blur, of course, when you get abbreviations such as VAT (value added tax) which can either be pronounced as individual letters or as a word.

Aborted departure

We had a strange event at work today. One of the contractors in the IT department was due to be leaving the company today, as his contract had finished. And in response, the team had clubbed together to buy him a small gift.

The idea was to gather in the staff canteen at 3.30pm to pass on the gift, say goodbye, and have some cake. Except that at the 11th hour – or rather, at 3.15pm to be more exact – his contract was suddenly extended, and his departure cancelled.

But what to do? We had a large chocolate cake and a present – and everyone had already gathered in the canteen. So we went ahead and cut the cake, and even gave him his present – on the understanding that he wouldn’t be getting another one when he eventually did leave.

Oh, and we still all went out to the pub after work for what would have been his farewell drinks.

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