Agreeing with Trump on “mike”

Trump is one up on Colbert when it comes to spelling the shortened form of “microphone.”

At last, something I can agree with Trump about!

The other night in his monologue, Stephen Colbert ragged on President Trump’s tweet about Senator Jeff Flake, which included the following sentence:

Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls) was caught (purposely) on “mike” saying bad things about your favorite President.

Colbert, reaching for a point of ridicule, said that Trump had “either misspelled the abbreviation for microphone or [was implying something about Flake and Mike Pence.]”

Sorry, Stephen. Although there was no reason for Trump to enclose the word mike in quotation marks, he did spell the short form for the word microphone correctly.

There’s a difference between an “abbreviation” and the “shortened form of a long word.”

Abbreviations are writing conventions, not intended to be pronounced. For example, the abbreviation etc. is read as “et cetera.” No one tries to pronounce the abbreviation Mr. as anything but “Mister.”

Shortened forms of words, on the other hand, are words in their own right. The word bus, for example, is a shortened form of omnibus. No one says omnibus any more, and hardly anyone says microphone these days. The shortened form of microphone is mike. The abbreviation of microphone is mic. We don’t need an abbreviation for mike. It’s already short enough.

Writing mic and expecting it to be pronounced with a long i flies in the face of English spelling convention.

I’m with Trump on this one. Only, he needs to drop the scare quotes.

[“Scare quotes,” are quotation marks a writer places around a word or phrase to signal that they are using it in a non-standard, ironic, or otherwise special sense.]

Categorized as Words