Why Should You Learn These 10 English Abbreviations?

Why Should You Learn These 10 English Abbreviations?

by Cassie Wright

Updated November 10, 2022

Study your English vocabulary. Eat your vegetables. Don’t forget to brush your teeth.

Follow all the rules and you’re certain to become a successful, well-groomed, English speaker. Oh, btw, you should memorise the abbr. for those vocab words, too.

Wait a sec! Why?

The truth is that language isn’t just a set of rules that speakers always follow. Language changes all the time and English is no exception.

Unfortunately for language learners, that means keeping up with words, phrases, and abbreviations that native speakers use all the time.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you remember that btw means by the way, a sec is just a second, and you can write abbr. instead of abbreviation, adding a few more items to your vocab list sounds like a pretty good idea.  


RSVP (Répondez s’il vous plait)

When was the last time you got an invitation to a party? Did you notice the words RSVP next to a date at the bottom and wonder what it meant?

Although RSVP is taken from a French phrase meaning “please respond”, it’s commonly used in English to ask for a reply to an invitation. You’d be surprised how many native speakers don’t know what it means!

MIA (Missing in action)

Missing in action is a military term that refers to soldiers who go missing during wartime, but don’t be surprised if your English-speaking friend says her sandwich is MIA. It just means she can’t find her lunch and she’s probably getting hungry searching for it. Or maybe she has eaten it already and doesn’t want you to know!


TGIF (Thank Goodness it’s Friday)

This phrase perfectly describes the feeling at the end of a long working week. You’re more likely to hear the abbreviation than the full phrase. Often people will also say ‘Thank God it’s Friday!’. There is another version of this abbreviation TFIF, we’ll let you work out what that means for yourself!

DIY (Do it yourself)

Do you like crafts or consider yourself to be handy?

If so, you might have seen the abbreviation DIY, or do it yourself. You can use it when you want to search Pinterest for a few new ideas.


AKA (Also known as)

Whether you’re a fan of crime dramas or you just know a lot of people with nicknames, you’ll want to remember AKA, which stands for also known as.

That way, you’ll have no trouble understanding the phrase: “John, AKA Johnny-boy, AKA Snake Eyes.”

At work, too?

The business world is full of just as many, if not more abbreviations.

CC (Carbon copy)

Have you ever been asked to Cc someone else in an e-mail?

Your boss won’t tell you that Cc means to send a carbon copy. So, it’s a good idea to remember this abbreviation. There’s also Bcc, which means blind carbon copy. If you want to copy someone into the email but don’t want others to see, this is the trick to do so. 


Re: (Regarding)

What’s this e-mail chain about?

If you know that the abbreviation Re: at the top is short for the word regarding, you’ll hopefully have an easier time understanding what everyone needs from you. Sometimes people will put this into the copy of a message or an email, meaning they want to get to the point. Re: the party next Friday, I’m in!

CV (Curriculum vitae)

If you see the abbreviation CV during your job search, you should know that it refers to your curriculum vitae. You won’t often find it written out, so it’s a good abbreviation to memorise if you’re job hunting or just looking for tips on how to write a good one. You’ll find that in America, they call it a resume. 


Etc. (Et cetera)

You may have seen etc. at the end of a sentence before. It’s a common abbreviation that essentially means “and so forth” or “and other similar things.”

For example, if you wanted to tell your language teacher that you needed help with your business vocabulary, you might say :“I need to work on business words like campaign, marketing, promotion, etc.”

i.e. (Id est)

This abbreviation stands for the Latin phrase, id est, meaning “that is.” An easy way to remember what it means is to think of the phrase “in other words” when you see it.

For example, how many of these abbreviations have you heard of, i.e., which ones did you already know?


FYI Lingoda can help

For your information, our English lessons can help with any abbreviations you may be struggling with. If you are looking to advance your skills in the workplace then our Business English course is ideal for you. Aimed at B level learners, you will explore grammar, skills, and conversation activities with our native speaking teachers.

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