Common Uses of Abbreviations and Acronyms to Look Out For

The English language primarily uses two different ways of shortening words. The first way is abbreviations. Abbreviations are a shortened version of a longer word, such as the word ‘Mister’ is often shortened to ‘Mr.’ in the English language.

The other way words are shortened is with acronyms. Acronyms take the first letter of a series of words and combine them into one word that represents the set of words. Typically acronyms are used for names of organizations or government agencies such as the MLB, also known as Major League Baseball, NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Abbreviations are used quite commonly in English and can be seen used in official documents, letters, emails, text messages, and much more. The most commonly used abbreviations are seen with measurements, months and days of the week, and state names.


  • Distances such as inches and miles, abbreviated as in. and mi.
  • Weights such as pounds and ounces, abbreviated as lbs. and oz.
  • Measurements of volume like tablespoons and teaspoons, abbreviated as tbsp. and tsp.

Months and Days of the Week

  • Months such as January and February, abbreviated as Jan. and Feb.
  • Days of the week are typically abbreviated in one of two ways.
    • M, Tu, W, Th, F, Sa, Su
    • Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., Sun.

State Names

  • States are abbreviated with two identifying letters. This is a very common abbreviation and is the only accepted abbreviation by the United States Postal Service.
    • CA, NY, MA, AZ, FL, TX (California, New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, Florida, Texas)


Acronyms are also used very commonly in the English language. Acronyms can also be seen used in official documents, letters, emails, text messages, and more. Acronyms are mainly used by organizations and government agencies, but can also be used in slang for casual conversations over text and email.


  • Many popular organizations use acronyms for their names.
    • NBA (National Basketball Association)
    • MLB (Major League Baseball)
    • ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
    • NBC (National Broadcasting Company)

Government Agencies

  • Most government agencies are named with an acronym
    • EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency)
    • FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
    • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
    • WHO (World Health Organization)


  • Acronyms are used very often with slang in English when texting or emailing. Some of the most common slang acronyms used when texting:
    • LOL (laughing out loud)
    • ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing)
    • JK (just kidding)
    • TTYL (talk to you later)
    • ILY (I love you)

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