Commonly used English abbreviations

Abbreviations are in common use in English, especially on the Internet. You can find them practically everywhere – on forums and social networks, in chats and even in rather official online conversations through the e-mail or some instant messaging services such as Skype or ICQ.

So it's quite necessary to know them, not all of them but at least the most common. And here is the list of some abbreviations. (More precisely, there is a difference between “abbreviations”, “acronyms” and “initialisms” but I think in our case it'll be ok to recognise them all as “abbreviations” just to make things simple.)

These ones are commonly used practically everywhere:

  • thnx, thx – thanks, thank you
  • sth, smth – something
  • etc. – and so on (from the Latin “et cetera”)
  • i.e. – that is (from the Latin “id est”)
  • e.g. – for example (from the Latin “exempli gratia”)
  • et al. – and others (from the Latin “et alii”)
  • vs. – versus
  • NB – take note (from the Latin “nota bene”)
  • PS – postscript
  • P.M. / A.M. – after noon / before noon (from the Latin “post meridiem” and “ante meridiem”)
  • AD / BC – In the year of the Lord (from the Latin “Anno Domini”) / before Christ

These you can find on websites:

  • auth – authorization
  • admin – administrator
  • faq – frequently asked questions.
  • acct – account
  • n/a – not applicable to
  • pm – private message
  • captcha – completely automated public turing test to tell computers and humans apart

These ones are in common use on forums, social networks and chats:

  • IMPOV – in my point of view
  • IMHO – in my humble opinion
  • IMO – in my opinion
  • IRL – in real life
  • ASAP – as soon as possible
  • AFAIK – as far as I know
  • BBL – be back later
  • BRB – be right back
  • DIY – do it yourself
  • BTW – by the way
  • FYI – for your information
  • IDK – I don't know
  • LOL – laughing out loud (lots of laugh)
  • ROFL – rolling on the floor laughing
  • ORLY – Oh, really?
  • NIM – not in the mood
  • NP – no problem
  • OMG – oh my God
  • BFN – bye for now
  • IOW – in other words
  • CUZ – because
  • J/K – just kidding
  • SYL – see you later
  • bro – brother
  • mag – magazine
  • aka – also known as
  • msg – message
  • esp. – especially
  • pls – please
  • ppl – people
  • 2u – to you

These ones in the news and blog posts:

  • CEO – chief executive officer
  • apt. – apartment
  • aux – auxiliary
  • bbl – barrel (of oil)
  • condo – condominium
  • conf – conference
  • dept – department, deputy
  • feat. – featuring
  • a.l. – autograph letter
  • narr. – narrator, narrated by
  • pub. – publisher, published by
  • ed. – editor, edition, edited by

These ones are commonly used too:

  • 'cause – because
  • 'course – of course
  • 'sup – what's up

And these ones are commonly used in games:

  • n1 – nice one
  • gj – great job
  • gl & hf – good luck and have fun
  • gh/nh – great/nice hand (in poker)
  • ty – thank you

This list above is not complete at all. There are dozens of abbreviations around there, especially in particular subjects (such as “LAMP” (Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP) in web developing and “UTG” (under the gun) in poker) and even on particular sites (such as “RT” (retweet) on twitter). But it's really no need to learn all of them, in case you're not a web developer or poker player and do not use twitter. It's a good idea just to learn a common ones.

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