Knowing that the main theme of this issue of Medical Writing is writing for the lay audience, I was thinking hard about what would be the most relevant topic to discuss in the Lingua Franca and Beyond section. My thoughts went to a topic that bridges the lay audience with medical and regulatory writers (regardless of native language). A couple of months ago, I attended an investigator meeting; at the end, one of the Danish investigators congratulated the organisers, and said: ‘The meeting was just perfect; the only remark, we couldn't really follow all acronyms’. This made it clear for me that abbreviations and acronyms widely used in clinical development language and in medical publications are something that must be a problem for the lay audience, if it was a problem for medically educated people. Here we go – I have an excellent topic!