10 Popular Email Abbreviations

Posted on November 15, 2018

 

By Emily Stallard, Owner at Orchid English

 

Do you send emails in English? Do you receive emails from native English speakers and wonder what some of the email abbreviations mean? Hundreds of modern email abbreviations and acronyms go in and out of fashion constantly and while researching this post I was surprised how many I didn’t know.

Here are some common email abbreviations that we often use in work emails, instant messenger between colleagues and text messages.

 

ASAP

As soon as possible

Americans tend to pronounce this as “aisap”, British people tend to pronounce all the letters individually. In the email abbreviations below in this list, all letters are pronounced individually.

 

BRB

Be right back

This is really good when messaging colleagues or friends. When you’re having a conversation on instant messenger and need to break off suddenly, for a delivery or a phone call, BRB tells the person all they need to know in a second.

 

BTW

By the way

It means, as an aside, to start a new topic. Quite informal and good for messenger.

 

ETA

Estimated time of arrival

  • When are you arriving?
  • It should be about a 40 minute drive so our ETA is 3pm.

 

FYI

For your information

Often this is used sarcastically so this can seem a bit rude if used incorrectly. In my opinion, FYI is almost a filler and doesn’t really add more to your message. If in doubt, it’s best to avoid this because it can seem abrupt.

 

IMO

In my opinion

On Facebook native speakers will often use IMHO which can stand for “in my honest opinion” or “in my humble opinion”.

 

LOL

Laughing out loud

Super casual! If it’s really funny this can be LOOOOOL.

 

NSFW

Not safe for work

Do you have a friend who likes to send funny emails? NSFW means you shouldn’t open it at work, the content is inappropriate.

 

Re.

Regarding

This is a nice one – often used at the top of an email or letter.

 

RSVP

Répondez s’il vous plaît

Parlezvous français? If you don’t speak French this may be totally different in your language. It just means “please reply”. Don’t just ignore the invitation and assume the sender knows whether you’re coming or not!

 

TBH

To be honest

Like the two below, this is very casual and well suited to instant messenger although you could use it with colleagues.

 

TTYL

Talk to you later

A friendly and casual sign-off to a messenger conversation.

 

TX

Thanks

For the mega-busy, who have to conserve all their writing energy…

 

Want to know more about email writing in English? Learn how to start and finish emails in English and some ideas for conversational openers in opening lines in business emails.

 

Hungry to learn even more email abbreviations? There are even more in this article aimed at sales and applicable to general business English here.

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