Abbreviations and acronyms often simplify communication and are actually present in all languages - but you will come across them particularly often in English! Whether you're writing an email or typing a message on your smartphone, these short forms make life easier - and more fun!
Abbreviations are simply words that are not spelled out in full (i.e. approx. instead of approximately) and are relatively easy to understand. With acronyms, it is sometimes more difficult to guess what is behind the respective shortage. They are formed from the first letters of individual words and then, when capitalized, often create a whole new term - a particularly well-known example of this is LOL, which stands for laughing out loud.
English acronyms are used in both formal and informal contexts. Recognizing and understanding these is therefore a real must for all English speakers. Of course, they can also help you type a little faster—and sound like a real pro at the same time! Here are 10 English acronyms you should definitely know:
The acronym for Be Right Back can be used in a variety of situations, but it's most popular when chatting with friends. Are you in the middle of an exciting WhatsApp conversation with your best friend and suddenly your father wants to talk to you urgently? Don't worry, just text your chat partner BRB and they'll know you'll be able to continue chatting soon.
This acronym can also sometimes cause panic - for example, if it appears in an email from your boss. If you read something like "Can you finish this ASAP ?" you should get to work right away, because your counterpart expects a result as soon as possible (as soon as possible). It's often a nice way of saying something should be done "immediately" or even "preferably yesterday".
You can usually find this acronym on invitations for special occasions such as weddings, parties or business events. Like many other English terms, this comes from French and stands for Répondez s'il vous plait - simply a request to respond to the invitation and let the host know whether or not you will be attending the event in question.
The acronym TBC could also appear in the invitation just mentioned. It stands for To Be Confirmed and means that it is best to wait for a final confirmation before booking your Uber. The acronym TBD (To Be Discussed), on the other hand, usually appears in a business context - for example at meetings in which there are open points that still need to be discussed.
ETA is a common acronym, especially in the world of transportation, and stands for Estimated Time of Arrival. Of course, you can also use this short form in private, for example if you are going to be late ("Yes, I know, we were supposed to meet at 6 p.m., but my ETA is now at 7 p.m., I'm sorry...").
This acronym sounds more mysterious than its meaning. It simply means Date Of Birth and is often found on forms asking for personal information.
Who doesn't want to give their opinion every now and then? IMO stands for In My Opinion. This acronym even comes in a more polite twist: IMHO means In My Humble Opinion ("in my humble opinion") and it's also very common.
This acronym will come in handy if you like playing with names, like in the example “The boss, aka 'My mum'”. The use of “ Also known as ” is also great for witty phrases like “Please make way for the smartest person in the room, aka 'Me'”.
If you like to do things like fix or beautify things yourself, this acronym is perfect for you as it means Do It Yourself.
Imagine this: It's Friday and your friends are planning a night out, but you're actually tired and considering canceling. At the same time, you're afraid of missing out if you're not there. FOMO describes exactly this feeling and stands for Fear Of Missing Out.
So, now you have learned some important basics from the world of acronyms. To be honest, that's just the beginning though, as new English acronyms and abbreviations pop up on the internet every day. However, do n't worry: the more familiar you become with this type of abbreviation and the English language in general, the easier it will be for you to decipher them.