Abbreviations & Punctuation

Common abbreviations and English Punctuation marks

Instructor: Mr. Michael Krigline, MA   ♦

I expect all of my students to understand these basic abbreviations in English

  • (adj): adjective
  • (adv): adverb
  • AmE: American English
  • ans: answer
  • ASAP: as soon as possible
  • avg: average
  • BrE: British English
  • [c]: countable noun
  • EFL/ESL: English as a Foreign Language/English as a Second Language
  • e.g.: abbreviation for “for example,” used to introduce an illustration or sample (from Latin: exempli gratia)
  • esp: especially
  • i.e.: abbreviation for “that is,” used to introduce an explanation (from Latin: id est)
  • LDOCE: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (my favorite dictionary for English-learners; see our standards and uses page)
  • (n): noun
  • NPU, PKU, MIT, etc.: These are the abbreviations for university names. (You can usually substitute the abbreviation for any university.) These initials stand for Northwestern Polytechnical University (西北工业大学), Peking University (北京大学), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • RSVP: please reply/respond (from French)
  • sb: someone/somebody
  • sth: something
  • TEFL/TESL: Teaching English as a Foreign (or Second) Language
  • TS: topic sentence
  • [u]: uncountable (or non-count) noun
  • [u&c]: noun that can be uncountable or countable, depending on the meaning or usage in a particular sentence
  • (v): verb
  • [vi]: intransitive verb
  • [vt]: transitive verb
  • [vti]: verb that is transitive or intransitive, depending on the meaning or usage in a particular sentence

English punctuation marks (you should know all of these)

  • ’ apostrophe; friends, friend’s
  • * asterisk or star
  • ( ) (AmE) parenthesis, parentheses; (BrE) rounded brackets
  • [ ] (AmE) brackets; (BrE) square brackets
  • : colon
  • ; semi-colon
  • ! exclamation point
  • . period
  • , comma
  • / slash
  • ? question mark
  • “ ” quotation marks
  • ‘ ’ (AmE) single quotation marks
  • … ellipsis
  • – hyphen
  • — (or –) dash
  • _ underscore
  • underline (a line under text for emphasis)
  • italics (text in this format for emphasis)

©2015 Michael Krigline. See our Website Standards and Use Policy.

Monthly English Corner & Weekly Quote

  • July English Corner

    Welcome back to the English corner and this time I’ll give you some tips on how to improve your speaking. Many internationals are so concerned with making mistakes in their spoken English that they are very reluctant to practice speaking. A better objective is to focus on fluency rather than accuracy. That is to say, just speak regardless of whether or not you make mistakes. I know it’s difficult, because I went through the same experience when I learned Chinese in Shanghai. Practice as much as possible. Take advantage of English Corners, conversation partners, etc., and take classes that are specifically designed to help improve conversational skills. This month, try to overcome your fear of speaking, and don’t forget to check out next month’s English Corner.  © Mark Peter, M.A. Used with permission.

    Mr. Peter was Michael’s colleague at the Agape English Language Institute of Limestone College (Columbia, SC). Throughout his career, Mark has taught English at many schools and universities, in the US and in China.
  • Jul 25

    (If you are looking for a great book to read during the summer, here is a suggestion)

    “Many basic concepts and principles of Western culture have come down from the Bible. Many common English phrases and expressions have their origin in the Bible as well. So whether you are reading this book for cultural and historical knowledge or for improving your English, the Bible is still a book for all people at all times.”

    –inside cover of the Chinese-English Bible published in China by “Crazy English” (a great source of useful English-learning materials)

    Note: A quote’s original source is not always known, and authenticity has not been verified. To find out about an author, type the name into a search engine (like Google or Baidu). One of my favorite websites for quotations is:   49


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