Learn some commonly used English acronyms
ETA = Estimated time of arrival
You might notice friends asking you for your ETA when you have made plans to meet up with them. It means ‘estimated time of arrival’ and is used in text messages, emails, and sometimes in-person speech. For example:
Person 1: “I’m on my way to the cinema now.”
Person 2: “Okay. What’s your ETA?”
Person 1: “I should be there around 6:15”
ASAP = As soon as possible
ASAP is an acronym that is often used as a word in it’s own right (pronounced AY-SAP) in place of the phrase ‘as soon as possible’.
For example, if you try to call a friend but they are busy and can’t talk, they may say “I’m not free at the moment. I will call you back ASAP”
FYI = For your information
FYI, short for ‘for your information’, is an acronym that’s commonly used in both verbal and written communication. It’s used when you want to make the other person aware of a piece of information, perhaps something they were waiting for you to confirm.
“FYI, I have already told the teacher that we will be 5 minutes late for class tomorrow”
FAQ = Frequently asked questions
You might see FAQs listed on websites, brochures or other things that contain information. For example, a technology company may have an FAQ section on their website where you can find answers to questions that it’s customers often ask, such as ‘How do I turn off my computer?’ or ‘How do I connect to the internet?’.
TBC = To be confirmed
You’ll see TBC used commonly in emails and other written contexts, and also less often in conversation. It literally means ‘to be confirmed’ and indicates when something is still uncertain or unconfirmed.
Person 1: “When is the deadline for final submissions to the magazine?”
Person 2: “It’s still TBC, but we think it will be the end of September.”
RSVP = Répondez s'il vous plaît
RSVP actually comes from the French phrase, ‘répondez s'il vous plaît’, which translates into English as ‘please reply’ or 'please respond'. You will see it written at the bottom of formal invitations to events when the host wants you to reply to confirm your attendance. For example, an invite to a graduation ceremony, wedding, or birthday party.
DOB = Date of birth
An acronym you’ve probably seen regularly is ‘DOB’, which simply means ‘date of birth’. You’ll see this on any form where you have to provide your personal details.
AKA = Also know as
AKA is a commonly used acronym that means ‘also known as’, and used to describe another name for a person, object or place. You’ll mainly see it written down, but sometimes people also use it when speaking.
Example 1: “I’d like you all meet Victoria, aka, my best friend”
Example 2: “I’ve just started following Chris Hemsworth (aka Thor in the Marvel films) on Instagram”
ID = Identification
When going into a bar, picking up a parcel from the post office, or purchasing certain items such as medication, you may be asked to show your ‘ID’. This simply refers to your personal identification documents, such as a driving license, passport, or other National ID card.