March 24, 2017

10 English abbreviations you should know

Welcome to another English Chat’s lesson. Today, we are going to learn about abbreviation. So what is an abbreviation? Well, to save time at work or even at home, English speakers like to shorten some expressions which they use too often. The word brevity is the noun of the adjective brief. It means short, concise or to the point. Abbreviation, therefore, means to make something more concise. English is amazing right? Let’s get started straight away!



  1. ASAP = As soon as possible.

Example 1: Write me back ASAP! (Used at the end of an email or a letter)

Example 2: Let me know about your plan ASAP so I can work you in. (Used in conversation)


  1. RSVP = Please reply.

This is actually an expression from French. RSVP stands for “Répondez s’il vous plait”, which literally means please reply.

Example 1: I would like all of you to come to my party this weekend. RSVP.

Example 2: This invitation is only open for one week. RSVP.


  1. RIP = Rest in peace

This is often found on a grave marker or is said when someone passes away. It is a wish that the deceased will find peace in his or her death.

Example 1: Facebook users have been commenting “RIP” on the wall of a recently deceased pop star.

Example 2: It was only until the word RIP had been engraved on his grave that I really believed he was gone.


  1. BYOB = Bring your own beer/booze

Sometimes party hosts do not provide alcoholic drinks. In this case, you have to ring your own beer. Booze is a word used to describe common alcoholic drink including beer.

Example 1: Is this a BYOB party? If it is, we need to do some shopping.

Example 2: So see you guy this Saturday. Oh. And BYOB!


  1. BBQ = Barbecue.

A barbecue is a method of cooking which use hot smoke to grill meat. It can also be a type of party where hamburgers and grilled meat are served.

Example 1: Come to my house this weekend. We can have a little BBQ.

Example 2: Is it a BBQ party? I am sick on meat.


  1. PIN = Personal identity number.

A PIN is a number that is used as a password to identify the user. It’s personal so it’s confidential and unique to the owner of the PIN. You can use PIN to log in to a website, or to open your account at the ATM.

Example 1: You must protect your PIN. People can use it to steal your money.

Example 2: Your PIN must be exactly 6 digits long.


  1. e.g. = For example.

This abbreviation is derived from the Latin phrase exempli gratia, which means for example.

Example 1: Some fish are actually animals e.g. dolphins and whales.

Example 2: Abbreviations are short forms of a commonly used phrase e.g. ASAP stands for as soon as possible.


  1. i.e. = In other words.

I.e. is the short from of id est, a Latin phrase which means “that is”. It is used to indicate that an explanation is about to follow. We use it to give more details about, or to add clarity to something we just said.

Example 1: I met her on my 30th birthday i.e. 03/31/1990.

Example 2: To get this job, you must earn a good pass in English i.e. a B+ or above.


  1. etc. = and so forth.

Another Latin-originated phrase which is short for et cetera. We use it to indicate that there are more but we do not want or cannot list out everything.

Example 1: I went shopping for groceries today. I bought some cheese, some bread, two cans of milk, etc.

Example 2: There are many weather expressions that English speakers use e.g. storm out, under the weather, raining cats and dogs etc.


  1. ATM = automatic teller machine.

An ATM is a machine that you can withdraw money from. They can be found at bank outlets, or near shopping areas. For more expressions about money, click here.

Example 1: Where is the nearest ATM? I have run out of cash.

Example 2: This ATM is broken. Do not try to use it.


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Before we end our lesson, it is important to remember that some of these abbreviations are used strictly in writing, while others can also be used in speaking. Let’s recap and see which is which:

  1. ASAP (writing and speaking)
  2. RSVP (usually just writing)
  3. RIP (usually just writing)
  4. BYOB (usually just writing)
  5. BBQ (writing and speaking)
  6. PIN (writing and speaking)
  7. e.g. (strictly writing)
  8. i.e. (strictly writing)
  9. etc. (strictly writing)
  10. ATM (writing and speaking)

We hope you have enjoyed this lesson. Do share your knowledge of English abbreviations with others on the English Chat Room. And remember: saying “an ATM machine” is wrong because ATM already means automatic teller machine. Until next time!

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