Why is TIME Magazine not capitalizing abbreviations?

I don’t read TIME often, so I don’t know if this is a recent practice or not. But today I was reading this article about Pakistan. Look at these excerpts:

That’s really ^&#*ing annoying. So why are they doing it? Was this article written by someone who spends too much time on AIM?

I noticed they’re still willing to capitalize TIME.

I’m sure they’re not doing it on purpose.

They also start sentences with “and” and “but”. Grrrrrr. They also make sentences without verbs. Just try that on your SAT II Writing test and see how far you get.

There is a movement afoot to remake English in the image of the lowest common denominator in regard to grammar. I’m not perfect either, and I don’t like to sound like a dork when speaking, but when writing, I don’t care what William Safire says. The correct response is something like, “He’s the one!”, but NOT “It’s him!”

Yes, I realize you may want to write your character speaking colloquially.

Are you sure this is not something specific to the online TIME articles? I have a subscription to the print version, and I have not noticed this trend.

If it is specific to the online edition, it is likely due to the cursory proofreading that is characteristic of electronic media (itself due to the push to get news out quickly).

I thought it might be a typo, but I got suspicious since it happened three times to the same type of thing (organization abbreviations) in the same article. But I haven’t read anything else on time.com so I don’t know if it’s prevalent.

I am no prescriptive grammarian, but certain standards of decency must be upheld. This is something up with which I absolutely will not put.

Just a nit but those are acronyms, not abbreviations. I was taught to put them in all caps but my 20 year old Webster’s on my desk says nothing about that. Entries for scuba, radar and snafu are in lower case as are the examples given for acronyn. I suspect that it’s a style choice made because acronyms are so pervasive. Keeping them in lower case makes them more readable IMO. :smiley:

Hmm, the first definition of snafu is “situation normal, all fucked up.” I get a rush of giddy schoolboy glee whenever I find a dirty word in the dictionary.

As robby suggested, this seems to be some font style glitch with Time’s on-line edition. The print edition still capitalizes NATO and CIA.

An afterthought: Time uses small caps for terms like NATO and CIA. If small cap font is not available to your web browser, the letters will appear by default as lower case.

I agree it looks like they fell down just on this one article. If you do a site search for “nato” you will find it all caps everywhere else on Time’s site.

Just a nit, but of those three, only “NATO” is an acronym. “CIA” and “ISI” are abbreviations.

??? CIA for Central Intellitegence Agency is not an acronym? Then what does it abbreviate?

An acronym is an abbreviation that is pronounced as a word.

“NATO” is pronounced “nay-toe.” It’s an acronym.

CIA is pronounced as individual letters – C-I-A. It’s not an acronym.

CIA abbreviates “Central Intelligence Agency.” Acronyms are abbreviations that are pronounced, like NATO or NASA. But CIA and ISI are pronounced as their component letters.

Thanks for the correction. My dictionary made no reference to pronunciation, only that an acronym is a word made of the initial letter(s) of the words in a compound term.

With that the case it further muddies the quesiton of the OP becuase I have never heard a rule that says abbreviations should be in all caps let alone acronyms.

I think the problem is that the article was printing abbreviations for proper names in all lowercase – “nato” instead of “NATO” or “Nato” (which I myself prefer).

I’m going to go with the suggestions made here and guess that it’s a screw-up, either becuase of the small caps issue or because of sloppy editing in the online version.

I’ve noticed that the BBC Online capitalizes the first letter of such acronyms and abbr. but not ALL the letters. For example: “Nato” and “Nasa”. To my eye, it is a little disconcerting-- until you get used to it.

Ummm… why?

But there’s nothing wrong with that. And if you google for “grammar” & “sentences beginning with and”, you will find plenty of cites supporting my position.

“Him” is an object, not a subject-type noun (I forget the real geeky term). “Him” is never used with “to be” conjugations, as only “he” is able to be or do anything.

When I tutored for the SAT II Writing test, I taught kids to answer these kinds of things by asking a question back to the person saying it, and see if the usage still works:

“Who is the person?”

“Him is!”

No, obviously wrong. The problem is that EVERYONE does this, even I (not “me”, because “me” can’t do things), when I’m not thinking about it, or don’t want to be a pedantic geek.

What really makes this confusing is that “you” is both a subject and an object, so it’s understandable that people are confused.

Of course, this kind of misuse is so prevalent that I did put “me” in that last sentence, and didn’t think of it until the end. I generally try to be pretty concious of the problem, but just write around it, so that I’m right, but don’t sound weird. “It’s he!” sounds so different that it marks you as a grammar Nazi.

Don’t try it on tests designed to evaluate grammar usage, is my advice, even though I see support for you at dictionary.com in regard to “but”, and a little support about “and”.