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

  • Oct 17

    “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.”

    – Stephen King (1947-   ; “Best selling” US novelist)

    (That is, good writing should use words you already know. If you have to use a thesaurus, you will probably choose a word that you can’t use correctly. Similarly, if you are writing in a “second”  language, you’ll often make mistakes by using things you simply find in a translation-dictionary.)

    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:   9


All content ©2018 Michael Krigline unless otherwise noted. Most materials can be considered “fair use” educational resources, available for class if used in accordance with our Website Standards and Use Policy (under “About Us”), which also talks about attribution and the use of cookies.

I searched numerous web hosts before I decided to go with They help establish and manage my domain names, have advanced server equipment, multiple email addresses, great customer service, and more. Click the ad/link below to get more information!

EFLsuccess chose as our server — Click to see why!

© Look under "About us" for contact info and our Use Policy. For more resources visit and Frontier Theme