Monday, November 23, 2009

The Business of Business Abbreviations

So, you’ve been interviewed. You’ve been hired. You’ve written documents in professional language and throughout this process, you’ve seen countless abbreviations. Abbreviations and acronyms are the shortened versions of words which are use commonly. Abbreviation are used to save space, time and because the words they reference are specific enough that they cannot be easily confused with other words, but are common enough that abbreviating them saves a significant amount of effort. Chances are, sometime in your professional career you’ve seen, written or seen and written some form of abbreviation, whether it is a title, like Dr. or Mr. or CPA, or it is place like FL, FGCU or USA. But there are common business abbreviations which you should know. Especially now, in the digital age, where e-mail and other forms of electronic communication make abbreviations more common and necessary in everyday professional writing it is important to keep up to date with these common word replacements.

Basic common abbreviations:

These abbreviations are used all the time, usually without our conscious knowledge, in all sorts of professional business documents. These include:

As previously mentioned, titles like Mr., Ms., Dr., Sr.

Places are commonly abbreviated as I mentioned earlier as well. Continents, countries cities are all abbreviated in common writing. EU, UK, NY, STL.

E-mail and letter Abbreviations:

Among the most common forms of correspondence in the professional world in the 21st century, e-mail has created a whole new form of internet abbreviations. These along with older abbreviations used in letters before the advent of the internet include:

Asap, as soon as possible. Tells the reader that the action specified needs to be done… asap.
Cc, carbon copy, when you send a copy of a letter to more than one person, you use this abbreviation to let them know.
enc., enclosed. This is used to inform the reader that something has been enclosed with the document.
pp, per procurationem this Latin phrase is used to let the reader know that you are signing in lieu of the person who was actually supposed to sign a document.
ps, postscript. A postscript is something that you wish to add at the end of a written correspondence.
Pto, please turn over. This lets the reader know that the correspondence continues on the back of the paper. Not used in e-mail correspondence as e-mails do not have a front or back.
RSVP = "Répondez s'il vous plaît", which literally translates into “respond please”.

These are just a few of the many abbreviations you will no doubt encounter as a business professional. You will likely also encounter some abbreviations specific to your industry or business, like accounting or law. Learning and using these abbreviations is crucial to your development as a business professional.

P.S. Please follow this link to enjoy a humorous video on abbreviations.


"MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide: MLA 2009 Abbreviations - The OWL at Purdue." Welcome to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). Web. 24 Nov. 2009. .
"Formal Letter Writing Tips - Articles -" English Language (ESL) Learning Online - Web. 23 Nov. 2009. .
"Why we use the abbreviations we use (or not) | The Editors Desk | STLtoday." St. Louis Sports, News, Jobs, Classifieds, Entertainment & Weather. Web. 23 Nov. 2009. .
"YouTube - talk about abbreviations." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 24 Nov. 2009. .


  1. Very good and clear post. I like that you told us all what RSVP means. I thought that was what it meant, but I never looked it up! Now I know for sure!

  2. What a cute title! It is catchy and your blog has great information. This is a topic that I did not expect to see on the board. Great job!

  3. Very informative, now I know what RSVP stands for! This information can be useful to anyone in the business field. It is surprising how many abbreviations we use on a daily basis. I like that you included a link to a video, but including the actual video in your post would have been a nice touch. Other than that, great post!