Learn 17 Business Abbreviations & Acronyms in English

Learn 17 Business Abbreviations & Acronyms in English

Hi. Welcome back to www.engvid.com.
I’m Adam. In today’s lesson we’re going to
look at a bit of business writing, and more specifically, we’re going to
look at abbreviations and acronyms. But before I even start, I want you to understand
that a lot of what you’re going to see today applies in many situations outside of business,
but I’ll explain those when we get to them. So, first of all: What’s the difference
between an abbreviation and an acronym? An “abbreviation” is a shortening of a word. Okay?
It’s one word that we cut out a bunch of letters and we make it shorter. So, for example, the abbreviation
of the word “abbreviation” is “abbr.” Okay? “Acronyms”, on the other hand,
are basically initials. Initials means the first letter of each word. And initials we usually use
with people’s names, like John Smith, his initials are JS. But when we want to take a
bunch of words and we don’t want to write all these words, we just want to make something
short, but it has to be understood by basically whoever is going to read it, then
we’re going to use acronyms. Okay? So, let’s start with the abbreviations, and
in terms of business. Now, especially when we’re writing, either a letter by hand like
on paper or an email, these are very common. “Attn:” means: Who are you writing to?
So, “attention”. Whose attention are you trying to get with
this letter? “Re:” means “regarding”, means: About what? Now,
a lot of people might think that “re:” in an email means “reply”,
it doesn’t. “Re:” in an email or a letter always means “regarding”. What is the topic of
the conversation? So, you know in the email bar it has “re:”, what are you talking about
when you reply to somebody? The topic. Okay? Next, when we end our letter, we should say
who we are and what our position is in the company. So, whether you’re the Assistant or
the Director, you can write: “Asst.”, “Dir.” or “Director”, or Manager: “Mgr.” Notice that all
three of them have a capital. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re using the full word or an
abbreviation, you still have to capitalize the title of a position, or the title of the
person’s place in the company. Okay? So, if you’re the Assistant Director,
you write: “Asst. Dir.” Now, you’re wondering why there’s no dot here,
and there is a dot there. There’s a few ways to figure out which one to use, yes or no
on the dot. Firstly, the more you read and the more you engage in this sort of writing,
you will just see: What is the most common approach? But another way is a style guide. You
can use The Chicago Manual of Style, that’s the most common one for general purposes.
Or if your company has its own style guide or a style sheet, look at it to see if they
want a dot or they don’t want the dot. It’s really a personal choice
of the company’s. Okay? So, now, the main thing we have to consider is
when we’re writing something from the company, we’re writing it on company stationery. So,
the company has pages with a letterhead. It means all the information is already at the
top; the name, the logo, the address, etc. So, all of this stuff might already be included,
for example: which department, which building you’re in, for example, in the address. We
always like to take shortcuts, and we don’t want to write everything. Write it short.
“dept.” is enough. Everybody knows “dept.” means department. Building is building: “bldg.”
because we just want to shorten everything. The less, the better. When you end it, you’re
writing your name, and underneath: Who are you? Like, okay, I know your name, but who
are you in terms of the company? So, you’re writing your position. Now, you can see all
this stuff on business cards, letterheads, etc. So, next, let’s look at acronyms. So, if you
watched Rebecca’s lesson on business acronyms, you heard about Chief Executive Officer, “CEO”,
this is the boss of the company, he runs or she runs the whole company. Everybody answers
to him or her. So, “CO” basically means Chief Officer, “Executive” means of the whole company,
but then you have different departments or different areas of the company. “CFO”, Chief
Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Information Officer, and then
there’s many other ones that you can use. So, now we’re going to look at some more acronyms.
One thing to remember: Acronyms always use capital letters. Even if you don’t need capitals
in the extended version, the acronym will always be capital letters. “ETA”, estimated
time of arrival. So, you call a delivery person or you call a client and you want to inform
them or you want to find out when the product will arrive, so you say… I call Amazon,
my book hasn’t arrived yet, and I say: “What’s the ETA on my book?” And they write back:
“Oh, it will be there sometime next week.” Or I need to contact somebody and get some
things done, and I call the local place, and they say: “Oh, sorry, we can’t help you. You
have to call HQ.” Headquarters, the main office. It will probably be capitalized even in the extension,
but not the “q”, notice, because it’s one word. “MSRP”. So, now, when we’re talking about big
ticket items, like cars, computers, appliances, then we want to know how much it costs. So, what
you are paying the store might not necessarily be the MSRP, because the stores
want to make it more competitive. The MSRP is the manufacturer’s
suggested retail price. So, the company that made the
product tells the stores and tells the distributors: “Oh, you should sell this
for $100.” Okay? That’s what it’s… That’s what you can get for it. But then the stores,
they want to compete with other stores, so they go: “We will beat the MSRP by 10%. We
will go under the manufacturer’s price.” Okay? “POS”, point of sale. So then you go into a
store, you find the product you like, you want to go pay for it. The cash register,
the machine where you actually pay or put your card, or whatever, that’s called the
POS, the point of sale. Okay? “SOP”, so now you’ve bought your product, you take it
home, and you try to use it and realize: “You know what? This is not really good. This is
not what I paid for.” So you call the company, you say: “I want to return this. Can I just
take it back to the store?” And the person on the phone says: “No, I’m sorry, sir, that’s
not our SOP. You have to do it this steps. You have to go A, B, C, and then get back to
HQ.” “SOP”, standard operating procedure. Basically: How do we do this? How is it
done? How is the…? What is the policy? Now, you’re working at the store and you get
your paycheque, and on your paycheque it shows how much this cheque is for, what is your pay
for this term, maybe two weeks, one month, etc. And next to it, it will say “year-to-date”.
How much have you received so far from the beginning of the fiscal year until now? “Year-to-date”.
But notice that we have the hyphens, so technically, this is like one word, but we still have an
acronym for it. Year-to-date. Then you take all your financial information, and you go
talk to your CPA about doing your taxes, for example. Your Chartered Public Accountant.
This is an accountant who is recognized by the government, he… He or she has a license, and
they can sign off and do your taxes, personal or corporate, etc. Now, the thing to remember is that a lot of
this stuff is not only used in business. People use ETA all the time. So, especially when
we’re texting because, you know, texting uses a lot of acronyms, a lot of abbreviations
because people don’t like to type too much. So I’m typing my friend, he’s supposed to
come over for… To hang out tonight, and he didn’t come, he hasn’t come yet. So I
say: “Hey. What’s your ETA?” I don’t write: “When do you think you will show
up?” I say: “What’s your ETA?” And he understands
estimated time of arrival: When are you coming? When will
you be here? Okay? “SOP” is another one we use in many situations. The “SOP” means how
something is done. And again, all of these are used for addresses, for business situations,
for non-business situations, etc. So it’s important to learn these. And again, the more you
actually get involved in writing and reading business situations or other situations, you
will see these all the time and eventually you will remember how to use them.
Okay? So, I hope this
was pretty clear. If you enjoyed this lesson, please
subscribe to my YouTube channel. If you have any questions about this lesson,
go to www.engvid.com, join the forum, ask your questions-I will be happy
to reply to them-and take the quiz. There’s also going to be a quiz to test your understanding
and knowledge of these words. And, of course, come back again soon and watch more
helpful videos, and I’ll see you then. Bye.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Wonderful teacher.
    I don't know whether my English listening skill is getting better but I've managed to catch every single word clearly, even without subtitles. Thank you Adam.
    Vladimir from Moscow, Russia.

  2. hey Adam I love u r classes ur just fab. I learned a lot from u videos can you plz make a video of cracking visa interview .way to project ourselves ,mistakes not make .

  3. Most readers probably know that an acronym is an invented word made up of the initial letters or syllables of other words, like NASA or NATO. Fewer probably know that an initialism is a type of acronym that cannot be pronounced as a word, but must be read letter-by-letter, like FBI or UCLA.

  4. i like, you're one from the engvid crew, who absolutely opened and friendly, seems to me. And also, you are only one i can understand without subtitles. With respect from Russia.

  5. Somehow, Americans love acronyms, to the point that spelling the acronym takes more time than simply saying the first word. Oh, and the University names! Everyone uses the acronym of their school as if it is universally known.

  6. Hello, Adam. When I was a student many years ago, we were taught and I still remember and teach my students that "an acronym is a word made up from the first letters of the name and is read as a word. For example NATO [NEITOU] is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. While an abbreviation is a short form of a word. For example 'Dr' is the written abbreviation of the word 'Doctor'. The difference is that abbreviations are pronounced as separate letters but acronyms as whole words.

  7. Exelent!!!!! I Don't know Why But I understand you better that another one teacher.Thank's a lot for your lessons

  8. Hello Adam, your channel is excellent for students I have improved my english with your videos that u share with us
    I just wanna say thank you so much for your help

  9. ıf anybody wants to conversetion with someone ….send me message from over facebook ….because the only way to improve your inglish is conversetion practica ……have a good day …..Aydın Gürkan Keleş/Turkey

  10. Guys! If anyone wants to practice English for CPE/CAE exam (meaning you're quite fluent in the language), write me!

  11. Thank you for this useful and smooth lesson. By the way, in US system, the acronym CPA stands for: Certified Public Accountant. In this video, it read: Chartered.

  12. Sir , i m regular visitor of ur videos and i must draw ur attention that i have learnt a lot from your invaluable videos and still it goes on .

  13. hı brothers and sisters…ı established a WHAT'S GROUP for improve our speaking and listening skills …ıf you want to improve english skills YOU CAN JOİN to us …..by the way İTS FREE =)….. (YOU CAN FİND ME FACEBOOK AND CAN SEND ME MESSAGE ….AYDIN GÜRKAN KELEŞ

  14. Great lesson
    my English is not too good but i understood your lesson.
    bcz. your method of teaching is very good.

  15. Pretty soon we'll all use acronyms only to talk and write. Our language is fading, kinda like our penmanship of the old. So sad

  16. I wasn't definitely sure whether I need this, till Adam said he uses to ask his friends what their ETAs are. 😀 This idea is really awesome… and funny (twice as funny, 'cause Adam was absolutely serious)… I can't explain, but I really liked it.

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