In the modern age, saturated with information, there is less and less
time for communication and correspondence. No matter how paradoxical it
may sound, but the more information a person owns, the more ways he is
looking for to reduce it and transmit it in a more concise form. One of
the best ways to shorten words and expressions is to use abbreviations.
Today they are ubiquitous in general English, in business
correspondence, in SMS messages and chats, in international terms. Many
of them are used quite often, so not only English learners, but also an
ordinary modern person should master a couple of the most common of
See also: everyday English slang
Abbreviation (Italian abbreviatura from Latin brevis
- short) - a word formed by abbreviation of a word or phrase and read by
the alphabetic name of the initial letters or by the initial sounds of
the words included in it.
Abbreviations are found in any language of the world and play a huge
role. Sometimes ignorance or incorrect use of one or another
abbreviation in English can lead to a rather awkward situation or
misunderstanding of what the interlocutor wants to express with this or
Let's look at an example of the misuse of the well-known
abbreviation LOL (laughing out loud - laugh out loud).
Mom: Your beloved aunt just passed away. LOL
I: Why is that funny?
Mom: It's not funny, David!
I: Mom, LOL means “laughing out loud“.
Mom: Oh my goodness! I thought it means “lots of love”...I sent it to
everyone! I need to call everybody…
Mom: Your favorite aunt has just passed away. LOL
Me: What's funny about that?
Mom: That's not funny, David!
Me: Mom, LOL means laugh out loud.
Mom: Oh God! I thought it meant lots of love...
I sent it out to everyone! We all need to call...
Most popular abbreviations
This list of abbreviations can be found everywhere and, for sure, you
are familiar with most of them visually, but let's pay attention to
their correct translation and use.
- VIP (very important person)- a very important
- PS (from Latin "post scriptum") - after the
- AD (from Latin "Anno Domini") - our era;
- BC / BCE- before Christ -
before Christ / before Common Era - BC;
- ASAP (as soon as possible)- as soon as
- UNO (United Nations Organization)- United
- UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization)- UNESCO;
- am (ante meridiem, in the morning) -
in the morning;
- pm (post meridiem, in the afternoon) -
in the evening;
- ie (id est , that is) - this
- eg (exempli gratia , for example) -
- u (you) - you;
- (from lat. et cetera) - and so on;
- 2G2BT (too good to be true)- too good to be
- 2moro (tomorrow)- tomorrow;
- 2day (today)- today;
- BDor BDAY (birthday) -
- 2nite (tonight)- in the evening;
- 4ever (forever)- forever;
- AFAIK (as far as I know)- as far as I know;
- BTW (by the way)- by the way;
- RLY (really)- really, true;
- BRB (be right back)- I'll be back soon;
- TTYL (talk to you later)- we'll talk later,
- IMHO (in my honest opinion)- in my opinion, in
- AKA (also known as)- also known as;
- TIA (thanks in advance)– thanks in advance.
Let's look at the use of the abbreviations above in examples:
- According to my work schedule I need to come to work at 8 am -
According to my work schedule , I need to come to
work at 8 am.
- AFAIKthis concert will be held - As
far as I know, the concert will be held today.
- All these events happened in 455 BC- All these
events happened in 455 BC.
- I invite u to my BD 2nite. –
I invite you to my birthday party tonight.
- BTWshe was RLY good at Math
at school. By the way (by the way) she was really good at math when
she was in school.
- I'm sorry. I'm in a hurry. - I'm sorry, I'm in
a hurry. Let's talk later.
Business Letters and Abbreviations
Writing business letters and compiling business correspondence today
requires high-quality study and a careful approach. When faced with the
design and decoding of abbreviations in business English for the first
time, a beginner sometimes experiences confusion and bewilderment of
what it all means. The difficulty lies in the correct use of this or
that abbreviation, as well as in the specifics of business
vocabulary. However, as in any field of language learning, knowledge
and a little practice will help to cope with any difficulties.
You may also be interested in: Computer slang in English
A number of abbreviations are used only in writing, but in oral
speech the full forms of the word are pronounced:
- (mister) - mister;
- (mistress) - Mrs.;
- (Doctor) - doctor;
- (Saint / Street) - saint or street;
- (boulevard) - boulevard;
- _ (avenue) - prospect;
- (square) - area;
- (road) - road;
- (building) - building;
- Sc. (Bachelor of Science)- Bachelor of Science;
- MA (Master of Arts)- Master of Arts;
- D. (Doctor of Philosophy)- Candidate of
- MD (Doctor of Medicine)- doctor of medical
The most popular business abbreviations of English words are given
- Co (company)- a company;
- PA (personal assistant)- personal assistant;
- (appendix) - application;
- (reply) – response;
- (page) – page;
- (something) - something;
- (somebody) - someone;
- vs (versus) - against;
- ( lat. et cetera) - and so on.
Popular three-letter acronyms (TLA or Three-Letter
Acronyms) in business are:
- CAO (Chief Administrative Officer)- head of
- CEO (Chief Executive Officer)- Chief Executive
- (export) - export - export of goods outside the
- HR (human resources)- personnel service of the
- HQ (Headquarters)- the main department of the
- LLC (limited liability company)- a limited
liability company (LLC);
- R&D (research and development) - research and
- IT (information technology)- information
Examples of business correspondence using abbreviations:
- Dear Braun, our Co will be glad to offer you
the position of CAO. – Dear Mr. Brown, our company
will be glad to offer you the position of chief accountant of the
- Dear Stone, my PA will definitely contact you
about changes in exp. process - Dear Ms. Stone, my
personal secretary will definitely contact you about changes in the
Chats and SMS
As mentioned above, in English there are Three-Letter Acronyms (TLA or Three-Letter
Acronyms), which help to shorten and compress rather large
phrases to 3 letters. Today, this is a fairly popular way to save time
when chatting on social networks.
- BFN (bye for now)
- BTW (by the way)– by the way
- FYI (for your information)
- JIT (just in time)- on time
- IOW (in other words)- in other words, in other
- NRN (no reply is necessary)
- OTOH (on the other hand)- on the other hand
As for SMS abbreviations, there are a huge number of them.
The specificity of such abbreviations is that it can be almost
impossible to decipher without a detailed analysis.
Examples of abbreviations in SMS messages:
- GL (good luck)- good luck!
- GB (good bye)– for now
- DNO (don't know)- I don't know
- ASAYGT (as soon as you get this)- as soon as
you get this
- B4 (before)
- BC (because)- because
- BON (believe it or not)- believe it or not
- BW (best wishes)- best wishes
- BZ (busy)- busy
- CYT (see you tomorrow)- see you tomorrow
- Wish you GLon your exam. Mom. - I wish you good
luck in the exam. Mother.
- b.z. CYT. - I am sorry. Busy. See you tomorrow.
- I will be GB. - I'll be on time. Bye.