There’s some weird rules out there

What is the most pointless abbreviation in the English language?  And why does it matter?

Abbreviations, like proper nouns, full stops, brackets, modal verbs, similes, homophones etc (and indeed “etc”), are obviously all part of grammar.  Just as using “there are” rather than “there is” in the subject line above would be correct (although “there’s” is still understandable). 

For in terms of clarity of speech and writing, grammatical rules need to be understood and used. Yet there are not many moments in lessons on grammar and punctuation where one can easily stop and give the children pause for thought.

Of course, you might wish to point out that sentences should not begin with “And”, although there again the Merriam Webster website says, “Using and at the beginning of a sentence has been a practice for over a thousand years.” 

But let me return to my question: “What is the most pointless abbreviation in the English language?”

It’s one of those questions to which there could be one thousand (or should that be 1,000) answers, and each is quite possibly as valid as the rest.  But here’s mine… 

The most pointless abbreviation in the English language is “www”.  And the reason is (noting in passing that this is another sentence beginning with a conjunction) that saying “www” involves articulating nine syllables.  “Doub-le-you Doub-le-you Doub-le-you”.

Say the full phrase (World Wide Web) and that is three syllables.  As I said, a pointless abbreviation.  Although the inventors of the internet wanted something memorable, and “www” has certainly turned out to be that.

Thus the point remains: we all need to understand grammar and punctuation if we wish to understand, be understood, and explore the full value and beauty of the language.

Brilliant Activities for Grammar and Punctuation is a six volume series of photocopiable activities with each volume covering one year of lessons in grammar and punctuation skills, as noted in the Programmes of Study in the National Curriculum.

You can read much more about this volume and the resources that come with it, via our complete guide to the contents of all six volumes.

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