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Common Acronyms and Abbreviations

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What’s the difference between an ‘acronym’ and an ‘abbreviation’? Well, an acronym is a word made up of the first letters of a phrase; an abbreviation is a shortened version of a word.

Acronyms and abbreviations are commonly used are by native speakers, and can be quite confusing for anyone learning English for the first time. To help you understand some of these terms, let’s take a look at some of the most common acronyms and abbreviations in use.

1. 24/7

Used in a conversation, this is pronounced ‘twenty-four seven’. It means 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or all day every day, and is often used to highlight how much or how often something is being done.

E.g. She has been working 24/7 to get that promotion. (She has been working hard every day)

E.g. If you’re studying English at EC, you’ll be able to practise 24/7.


This acronym can either be spelled out when spoken (A-S-A-P) or pronounced ‘ae-sap’. It means As Soon As Possible, or urgently.

E.g. Can you do this ASAP, please?

E.g. I need to go shopping ASAP.

3. ETC / etc.

This abbreviation comes from the Latin ‘et cetera’, meaning something along the lines of ‘and the rest’. It is used at the end of a list to show that other similar items are also included in the list, but are not said.

E.g. My students need paper, pens, pencils, etc.

4. FYI

This means ‘for your information', and is pronounced F-Y-I. It is used as an informal way of saying “just so you know”, to show that the other person might be interested in the information.

E.g. FYI, I can’t make it to your party on Saturday.

E.g. Just FYI – I’ll be going to the supermarket. Let me know if you need anything.


Try it yourself! Fill in the blanks with the correct acronym or abbreviation. Good luck!

  • a. I really like listening to all kinds of music: classical, rock, pop, country, ______.

  • b. John needs these notes ______ for a project he's working on.

  • c. ______, we have another meeting on Friday.

  • d. She watches TV ______!