What language do I need for texting?

These days many people communicate by texting on their smartphones.

In English, to write texts quickly, common phrases/words are often abbreviated (made shorter). So it’s good to be able to understand and use this type of language. But, be careful, it’s casual and not usually used in formal writing eg. English tests or essays.

There are many of these abbreviated phrases/words used in texting. Below are ten more common ones.

  1. brb

=be right back

Used when you want to take a short break from texting and return later eg. The doorbell just rang, brb.

2. omg

=oh my god (=oh my gosh)

Used when you think something is very surprising. eg. Omg Susan just won a free trip to Hawaii!  Can be made stronger using all caps ie. OMG.

3. lol

=laughing out loud

Used when you think something is very funny or amusing. eg. I forgot my own phone number lol. Can also be made stronger by using all caps ie. LOL.

4. fyi

=for your information

Used before giving someone information you think is new to them eg. Fyi I’ve decided to change schools.

Continued below

5. btw

=by the way

Used to change the topic of the texting. Usually used at the beginning of a sentence eg. Btw what r yr plans for this weekend?

6. imo

=in my opinion

Used to give your opinion or thoughts about something, especially if it’s something other people might disagree with eg. Imo that place to too expensive.

7. asap

=as soon as possible

Used when you want something done quickly eg. Pls call me asap. Also used in speaking.

8. dm

=direct message (direct mail)

Used when you want the person to send you a private message directly (outside of group texting or chatting online) eg. If anyone’s interested in some tickets to the concert, pls dm me. Can also be used in all caps ie. DM.

9. re


Used before the topic you want to talk about eg. I’d like to talk to u re next week’s party. Can also be used in all caps ie. RE. Also used in business memos and emails.

10. tbh

=to be honest

Used to give your true opinion or feelings about something. Can be used before or after the opinion eg. I don’t really like going to live concerts, tbh.

Other common texting phrases/words

thx (or ‘ty’) =thank youpls =please  cu =see you later  bc =because  
cxl =cancel  np =no problemyr =your  u =you  
Extra tip!:  Sometimes the sounds of numbers are also used in abbreviated texting eg. b4 (=before), u2 (=you too), gr8t (=great), f2f (=face to face).

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