English Abbreviations in Texting

English Abbreviations in Texting and SMS Language

Do you ever what abbreviations and icons in text messages mean?

Do you find text messaging in English challenging? Here is a short introduction to English abbreviations in texting by Link School of English. We hope you find it useful.

English Abbreviations in Texting and Messaging, hand tapping on a smartphone

Abbreviations in Texting in English



Everyone sends text messages these days. It’s cheaper, quicker and more focused than making a phone call. Everyone wants to save time and many of us try to use texting abbreviations. But it can be a nightmare to figure out what some people are trying to say, with their bad spelling and home-made messaging abbreviations. Luckily, some of the more intuitive or ingenious abbreviations became viral and spread to most corners of the English speaking world. It’s also interesting how SMS language is changing.

Interesting facts about messaging

We can look at some of the most well known ‘words’ and emoticons, but first let’s look at the numbers surrounding the humble text message or SMS (Short Message Service).

1) Globally 9 trillion text messages are sent every year
2) In the UK 152 billion text messages were sent last year
3) The fastest text was written in 25.94 seconds saying: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.” Guinness World Records
4) Sending a text instead of phoning can reduce exposure to possibly harmful radiation
5) Many people have been killed due to texting while driving, walking and cycling etc

Strictly speaking, the number of ordinary texts sent every year is going down dramatically now, due to IM (Instant Messaging) services that are available on smartphones. Instant messaging is usually much cheaper than text messaging and is often totally free.

So it is possible that ordinary text messages will become rarer and rarer except in countries which don’t have data services. It is sad that free services like IM are not available to the people who need free stuff the most.

In any case, the English communication skills learned for sending text messages will not go to waste, as they are all equally useful for IM or using in internet forums and online chat.

Here are some of the most common English abbreviations in texting that you will come across:

  • 2 = To or Too
  • 4 = For
  • B4 = Before
  • Y = Why
  • R = Are
  • UR = You Are or Your
  • THX or THNX = Thanks
  • CU = See You
  • LOL = Laugh Out Loud (also, somewhat confusingly, Lots Of Love)
  • L8R = Later
  • BTW = By The Way
  • GR8 = Great
  • IMO = In My Opinion
  • H8 = Hate
  • MSG = Message
  • OMG = Oh My God
  • PLS or PLZ = Please
  • SRY = Sorry
  • Common emoticons used in SMS messages in English and other languages are:

    🙂 = Smile
    🙁 = Frown
    😉 = Wink

    You may want to explore more English abbreviations in texting and messaging here on a website dedicated to abbreviations in texting.

    Related articles:
    English Language Learning through Facebook ant Twitter
    How to Improve English outside of School

    Posted on in English language tips, Real English practice

    One Response to English Abbreviations in Texting

    1. brookings Sd house rentals

      This is a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
      Brief but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one.
      A must read post!

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