Today I’d like to have a look at abbreviations. They’re quite common in everyday English and it’s helpful to be familiar with at least some of them.
But first things first. What is an abbreviation? Well, it’s a word that’s been shortened (=abbreviated) to just a few letters or a word made from the first letters of several words.
So Mr (= Mister), Mon (= Monday) and UK (= the United Kingdom) are all abbreviations.
Note that in modern British English we don’t use full stops in abbreviations.
Those of abbreviations that are pronounced like words are called acronyms. (Articles are usually dropped in acronyms.)
One example is UNESCO /jʊˈneskəʊ/ (not
the UNESCO) = the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
You’re probably familiar with some of the most commonly used abbreviations such as cm (= centimetre), Dec (= December) and LOL (= laugh out loud or lots of love).
Here’s a few more to add to your vocabulary that British people use a lot.
am /ˌeɪ ˈem/ in the morning (from Latin ante meridiem, ‘before midday’)
The train arrives at London Charing Cross at 8.35 am.
ASAP (or asap) /ˌeɪ es eɪ ˈpiː, ˈeɪsæp/ as soon as possible
Please reply to this email ASAP.