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

  • April English Corner

    As I always tell my students, the key ingredient in learning English is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. In practicing your listening skills, I would suggest that you watch and listen to the evening news, because most American news anchors speak in a standard Midwestern American accent. Watching videos and listening to the radio are also good ways to improve your listening. Of course, many video, news and radio programs are also on line. Concerning your speaking skills, you need to make an effort to get to know native speakers and practice. Reading and vocabulary development can be achieved by reading magazines and novels. I would especially suggest you read articles from the “Reader’s Digest” and work through their Word Power section. Even reading for ten minutes a day is very helpful on a regular basis. Well I hope these suggestions help, and I’ll see you next time at the 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.


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