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Just What Do These Letters Stand For?


Monolingual Hispanic Students Learn English
Mario Villafuerte, Getty Images

The English language is the toughest language in the world to learn simply because many of our words are spelled the same but mean something different. Take the word “can.”  It can be a used as a verb as in “yes, you can do something” or as a noun in “just put it in the can.” That is just one word of hundreds like it in our language. Then there are abbreviations for words and acronyms.

For instance, there’s NAFTA, which stands for North American Free Trade Agreement. For one year in my life, I worked for the Federal Government and the use of acronyms was beyond belief. With that said, there are plenty of abbreviations we have all seen over the years and have just referred to them as the abbreviation.

For instance, here are a few we use quite often, but I bet you won’t know what they all stand for. BMW, CVS Pharmacy, M&M”s, ZIP code and DOS.  I could go on and on but you get the point. By the way BMW stands for Bavarian Motor Works, CVS is Consumer Value Store, M&M’s stand for Mars and Murrie, the candy founders (Forrest Mars, Sr. and Bruce Murrie).  Zip stands for Zone Improvement Code and DOS means Disk Operating System.

For your information, other than NAFTA, I didn’t know any of these correctly so I learned something today. Hopefully, you knew a few. If not, feel free to try them on others and see what their response is.

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