We all learned the importance of using the word “please” when asking for something, which is why so many of us, when issuing an invitation, include “Please RSVP.” Please don’t do this.

RSVP stands for “Répondez s'il vous plait,” which is “Respond, please” in French. A whopping 75 percent of RSVP is made up of “please” – literally “if you please,” but you get our drift. An additional “please” before or after RSVP is redundant.

Other common redundant usages that pop up frequently but shouldn’t:

  • ATM machine. ATM stands for “automated teller machine.” 
  • PIN or VIN number. PIN stands for “personal identification number,” and VIN stands for “vehicle identification number.”
  • HIV virus. HIV stands for “human immunodeficiency virus.” 
  • LCD display. LCD stands for “liquid-crystal display.”
  • UPC code. UPC stands for “universal product code.”

There’s a name for this: RAS Syndrome. RAS stands for Redundant Acronym Syndrome, so yes, “RAS Syndrome” has RAS Syndrome.

If you think the redundancy is needed for clarity, spelling out whatever the abbreviation or acronym stands for on first reference makes it even clearer: 

In 2007, sales of television sets with liquid crystal display screens outpaced those of cathode ray tube models. Today, almost all new TVs have LCD screens, and you can’t even give away a CRT set.

If your mom is in your head insisting you spell out “please” when asking for RSVPs, you can always ditch the French and write “Please respond by (your deadline here).”


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