Abbreviations and acronyms are part of colloquial English, therefore it’s really useful to know them when you are learning English.  They can be used by English speakers while chatting, playing games, by email and sometimes in conversation too. Normally they are used for saving time and to speed up communication.

Here is a list of some common abbreviations and acronyms that English people use:

Aka – ‘Also Known As’

This is used when someone or something has another name.

For example:

“He is James Brown, aka the Godfather of Soul” 

ASAP – ‘As Soon As possible’

This abbreviation is commonly used on emails to talk about something that has to be done quickly. It is also used in conversation as well as in text.

For example:

“I really need this information, could you please get back back to me ASAP?”

BBL – ‘Be Back Later’

This is a slang word often used in a text chat over social media or during online games. It is used when you want disconnect temporarily mid-conversation and be back in a few minutes.

For example:

Player 1: “Do you want to start another game?”

Player 2: “Yeah give me 5 minutes, BBL” 

BFN – ‘Bye For Now’

This is another text language phrase. It is commonly used in chat rooms or online games. Also you can see it as B4N. Which is the same but using numbers as well. This one means the same as BBL, to let users know that you must leave, but will be back.

For example:

Player 1: “Hey Player 2, BFN”

Player 2: “That’s fine. See you later!”

BRB – ‘Be Right back’

This is the same meaning at BBL.

For example:

Person 1: “Hi Josh, do you want to go online in a sec?”

Person 2: “Yeah, sure but BRB, going to get some food”


BTW – ‘By the way’

‘By the way’ is used in written and spoken English during a conversation to introduce a new, less important topic. The abbreviation BTW is a very informal way of using the phrase.

For example:

“I hope you enjoyed your holiday in Milan – BTW, can you recommend me a good restaurant there?”

DIY – ‘Do It Yourself’

This is used to talk about doing something yourself instead of paying someone else to do it for you. It is mostly used to talk about maintenance work in the home like building things or decorating.

For example:

“I’m doing some DIY this weekend. I’m painting our kitchen and I’m going to put up some new shelves.”

ETA – ‘Estimated Time of Arrival’

This is used when talking about a journey to let someone know what time you plan to arrive at your destination.

For example:

“We’re just leaving now, ETA is 4:30pm, see you soon!”

FTF – ‘Face To Face’

It is used when somebody prefers to speak in person rather than online or by phone.

For example:

“That situation is quite difficult and important, therefore I would prefer to talk about it FTF.”


This actually stands for the French phrase ‘Répondez s’il vous plaît’. This means please respond and is used when you need someone to confirm their attendance at an event, mainly used for parties and social events.

For example:

“The party is on Saturday night at 7pm. Please R.S.V.P by Tuesday evening because I need to confirm how many people are coming with the caterers.”

FYI – ‘For Your Information’

This is used when we want to send an email or a short message referring to something we saw and we just want to share it to let them know faster.

For example:

“FYI, today is Carol’s birthday”

TBH – ‘To Be Honest’

‘To be honest’ is a really useful phrase to let others know you are speaking honestly about something. The abbreviation to TBH is used in chat based communications whereas ‘To be honest’ can be used in both speaking and written English.

For example:

“TBH, I don’t really like hanging out with Steph, she can be really hard work!”