Internet Abbreviations and Acronyms

Sabrina Chang

In present days, people are gradually getting used to communicate on the Internet. Whether it is by text, audio, or video formats, technology indeed brings out hearts together. During the process of this development, some new terms popped up especially for the younger generation. People would use abbreviations and acronyms on the Internet or social networking websites due to the laziness of typing the whole word. For example, I usually use “prob” for “probably” and “LOL” for “laugh out loud”. Gradually, people even use these internet slang not only on the Internet but also face-to-face.

Explore the Interwebz: 30 English Slang Terms for Internet Noobs

So, what are the differences between abbreviations and acronyms? Let me tell you. An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase used mainly in writing to represent the complete form such as “tmrw” for “tomorrow” and “QT” for “cutie”. The interesting thing is, when people are reading these words, the sound of the original words actually come up to our minds quite fast. On the other hand, an acronym is a pronounceable word formed mostly (but not always) from the initial letters of a descriptive name or title. For instance, “B/C” stands for “because” and “FYI” stands for “for your information”. These acronyms seem to be difficult and confusing to a newbie of the Internet world. They will have to do additional research on those terms used by more experienced users. However, I think it is quite interesting to use these terms in our daily lives since we are living in this society where everything shifts fast.

Other questions hit me when I was doing a research on the Internet slang. Since when did these terms start to become popular and why did they become popular? Who started to use these terms also interests me. It seems that one of the main reasons is Internet. Internet brings people from different places, cultures, and languages together. People from different places could share their point of views, combine thoughts, and develop new terms that are especially for netizens. However, some problems arose too. When younger generation started to use these Internet slang, they might gradually forget the original spelling of the words and use the slang in formal essays. In addition, popular students are more likely to use abbreviations and acronyms during communications. If some students are not familiar with Internet slang, it would lead to failure of communication just like the picture below. We couldn’t deny that these abbreviations and acronyms do make the conversations on Internet more convenient, however, I suggest that we don’t bring those terms into real-life situations.

Internet Slangs

What are the Internet slang including abbreviations and acronyms that you usually use? How do you think it benefits your life and your time? Are there also disadvantages in terms of using these terms? Let me know what you think!


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Internet Slangs

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5 thoughts on “Internet Abbreviations and Acronyms”

  1. Hi Sabrina,
    I just finish reading your blog and I think you brought up a great topic!
    No doubts, internet slang is trendy nowadays and the creation of new acronyms and abbreviations brings a challenge to the SLA field. As ESL teachers, I think it is important to include this type of language in the classrooms in order to prepare students to interact in the real world. In my experience, I can say that sometimes I still struggle to understand all the English Internet slag, due to the fact that my native language is Spanish. So, if teachers, instead of assuming that everyone knows the meaning of internet slang (because most of the students are young), takes the time to explain it and practice it inside the classroom, students will be more empowered to raise their voice in the English multimodal worlds.

    Silvia Nunez

  2. Great topic! Everyday it seems like there are new ‘words’ used in texts and social media. I remember when “lol” came out and my mom thought it meant “lots of love”, which is a great idea too. I know she wasn’t alone in thinking this, many of her friends thought the same thing. Growing up before smart phones I remember we would rush home after school to go on MSN messenger – now I am dating myself – ( and MySpace (

    I honestly don’t remember what abbreviations we used to use, but they got shorter and shorter because when the flip phone came out we didn’t have a lot of characters to send messages. Now I think it is just to save time! We used to get about 160 characters (maybe a few less of more)!!

    It is funny though because I have an aunt who uses abbreviations that no one else uses, things such as “b” for because, “v” for very” and “r” for are. Sometimes when she sends messages I need to call and ask what she wrote because it is just letters! I have noticed recently I stopped writing people’s full names once people know who I am talking about like, T instead of Thomas.
    Hannah S.

  3. Hi Sabrina,
    Thanks for your explanation, which allows me to clearly understand the difference between abbreviations and acronyms, which often confuse me as an English learner!
    I remember the first time I saw ‘lol’ , I thought it was League of Legends (an online game). When I was chatting with other students, I found that I seemed to have misunderstood the meaning of it , then by looking it up online, I knew it is ‘laugh out loud’. So I think for English learners, internet abbreviations and acronyms are a module worth learning in order to improve the communicative competence in real life.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Sabrina! You bring up an interesting topic that for many of us, is part of every single day of our lives now. It is also interesting to see how much internet slang has changed along with the technology we’re using. To date myself too, Hannah, I also remember MSN and Myspace and the annoying T9 texting system on early flip phones. In those days, I very much used as little characters and as many acronyms and abbreviations as I could, but now I notice myself using them much less often, unless it’s for style reasons. With auto-suggest on my smartphone, it’s easier to do one tap for “probably” and have the full length word appear than five taps writing out “probs.” It will be interesting to see how our devices continue to change our ways of communicating online and how acronyms and abbreviations play into that!

  5. Hi Sabrina,

    I feel that the use of acronyms and abbreviations is highly contextual. The way I text with each of my friends is very different and because of their unique personalities, I communicate through texting using various styles of messaging depending on the person receiving the message. To elaborate, I also only use abbreviations and acronyms with friends I know closely and a select few family members. When texting individuals from work or school I tend to message more formally.

    Reflecting on texting conversations with my family, my grandmother actually uses the most texting abbreviations out of anyone I know! My sister and I always laugh because if we text our grandma “I love you! I hope you have a great day Grandma, see you soon!” She will provide a response along the lines of “KK. U 2. <3” My dad is also a very straight to the point texter and uses short sentences and periods. An example message would be “Here. In parking lot.” While his intent is to simply respond as efficiently as possible, individuals who are unaware of his messaging style may interpret that he is irritated or upset.

    Short hand terms could be beneficial for the sake of efficiency, when a messages requires an immediate response as quickly as possible. However, disadvantages of using these terms may arise if the person you are speaking to is not familiar with the term you are using. As a result, this could lead to miscommunication, as pieces of the messages are not interpreted, as well as misunderstandings! Terms could be understood incorrectly, offending those receiving the messages.

    Thank you for such an interesting post!

    Tia Goodhand

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