Apps and Docs: Applications or Appetizers, Doctors or Documents: Laziness or Dumbing Down Language?

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

I have a love-hate relationship with abbreviations. One of my pet peeves uses the ampersand (&) to replace the word “and” in most writing. To me, it’s the height of laziness. My daughter loved the symbol and tried to stress my opinion of it often.

I just finished watching the movie “Roxanne” starring Steve Martin and Darryl Hannah. It’s the new version of the old story of Cyrano de Bergerac. De Bergerac is known to have a large nose and doesn’t consider himself handsome. He is in love with the beautiful Roxanne, who in turn is in love with a man who IS very handsome but who has no talent for poetry. And she craves those lovely descriptive words. The handsome man has no depth, but the man with the large nose has it all.

This movie illustrated, at least for me, how important words are. We are judged on how we communicate with others. It’s essential that we use the words that convey our intentions. If we write and speak, just like everyone else, there is nothing special about ourselves.

Maybe that’s why abbreviations bug me so much, especially these: “docs” and “apps”. I do understand that some of this comes from thumb-typing on phones. “App” is much easier to type than “application”, which is why I prefer writing on a desktop computer with a proper keyboard.

But I think some of this is also laziness, and some of it is dumbing down our language. The additional problem is that “app” is also an abbreviation for “appetizer”. So when someone types in ‘app’, can you be sure which they are referring to?

“Docs” can refer to “doctors” or to “documents”. “Subs” can mean “submissives” or “submarine” (boat or sandwich).

These are just a few words where abbreviations can be confusing. Language, especially English, can be confusing all by itself. We don’t need to make it even more so.

Photo by Thirdman on

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