Text message abbreviations are one of the most popular ways that change languages around the world. Its popularity even created a language of its own. In 25 years, text messaging language and the abbreviations on words and messages are as critical as forming spoken words. 

As we have observed, it is not only grammar and construction that have changed with text messaging. Abbreviations made it possible for mobile users to connect and create a community that copes with today’s changing trends.

People who use text messaging abbreviations send messages to others who know the language and understand it even if it does not comply with grammar or sentence construction. This practice also helps save time, and you can put all you need to say in just 160 characters! And with one quick look, the reader gets what the message means. 

The use of text message abbreviations is a trend that will continue to evolve and adapt to the needs of people around the world. Let’s learn more about this unique “language” and learn the art and science behind all SMS text abbreviations, including SMS text acronyms commonly used. 

Common SMS Text Abbreviations

SMS Text Abbreviations are practiced locally and internationally, and one will notice a blend of commonly used abbreviations. It has become a language of its own, and even if you are from a different country, you will understand a text message in its shortened form. There are three major groups of abbreviations in text messaging, but before going into that, here are some examples of the most common ones. 

  1. TYVM: Thank You Very Much – used in various instances to express gratitude.
  2. POV: Point of View – used when discussing personal opinions
  3. OMG: Oh My God – to express strong emotion/disbelief
  4. BFF: Best Friend Forever – refers to a very close friend
  5. FOMO: Fear of Missing Out – used when discussing something important.
  6. Gr8: Great – shortcut for a casual response.
  7. G2G: Got to Go – used to halt the exchange of text messages
  8. BRB: Be Right Back – a temporary halt to the exchange of text messages
  9. HBU: How About You? – A shortened response to a similar question.
  10. NP: No Problem: Often used to indicate friendliness after something has been done.
  11. BTW: By the Way – used to raise a topic that was not previously discussed
  12. NVM: Never Mind – used to indicate that something doesn’t need attention.
  13. LOL: Laughing Out Loud – shows laughter in text messaging.
  14. OMW: On My Way – This usually means “on the way” when referring to an action in progress.
  15. JK: Just Kidding – is often used in response to something that is deemed inappropriate or shocking.

Business Text Abbreviations

Business text abbreviations are now widely used as a convenient form of communication among businesses, employees, clients, and customers. People today prefer to use text messages instead of phone calls as it is less intrusive and more convenient.

Businesses use text messaging to provide better customer service since it is more reliable, faster, and easily accessible. It usually happens when an employee needs to make a quick update or through seminars where necessary email addresses must be shared.

Business abbreviations vary depending on the company, industry, and use of mobile devices in business.

Some examples of business text abbreviations are the following:

  1. ABT: About – can be used when referring to something meaningful.
  2. TY: Thank You
  3. NTM: Not Too Much – can be used when referring to a response you cannot provide.
  4. QK: Quick Question – usually short and concise answer to a quick question.
  5. WRT: Regarding/With Respect To – these two abbreviations are often used in more formal communications, such as official memos or
  6. BCNU: Be seeing you – used when the person is about to report to the office
  7. BMOC: Big man on campus or big mover and shaker
  8. BOLO: Be on the lookout – used when instructing the receiver to monitor movements
  9. CADY GRAS: Carnival going on today, used when you are busy doing something.
  10. L8R: Later – used to end a conversation.
  11. QSL: I have received your message, which could be used to acknowledge read receipt for an email sent.
  12. FYI: For Your Information – usually includes helpful information in text messages.
  13. IMO: In my opinion – This is used in text messaging when expressing one’s opinion on a matter.
  14. FYI: For your information, it is used to cue the receiver essential information within the text message.
  15. OOO: Out of the Office – used to inform the receiver that the sender is not reporting for work.

Romantic Text Abbreviations

Romantic text abbreviations are also very popular among couples in the younger generation. Most of the text languages today are developed by young and creative people.

These text abbreviations are a mix of funny, motivational, emotional, and romantic words and phrases.

Here is a list of romantic text abbreviations:

  1. ILY: I Love You – can be used as an alternative for “I love you” in text messages.
  2. ILYSM: I Love You So Much – also an appropriate term to use when expressing love towards someone else.
  3. BOOTY CALL: used for a night out on the town with someone you are emotionally attached to.
  4. LMK: Let me know – used when asking the receiver to reply to a question or request.
  5. WTTP: Would you like to take pictures? – can be used about meeting up with someone at a specific time and place.
  6. ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing is a positive response to something that can be funny.
  7. IYKWIM: If you know what I mean – if you want to explain an idea or situation using a few words, this might come in handy.
  8. LMAO: Laughing my ass off – this is widely used in response to something hilarious.
  9. TTYL: Talk to you later – can be used as a term for saying goodbye or “see you later.”
  10. XOXO: hugs and kisses – the sender wants to express affection for their partner.
  11. GF: Girlfriend – used to indicate that someone is your girlfriend.
  12. BF: Boyfriend – use whoever you are sending the text message to. Use this term if they are your boyfriend.
  13. MUL8R: multiple numbers of uses – can be used when referring to something cool or funky.
  14. U: You – this is short for you and is used in text messages when sending a message to someone specific.
  15. SO: Significant Other – could be used when talking to the person you want to get involved with.

Text Messages and Marketing Acronyms

Text messages and marketing acronyms have also invaded the SMS language. Businesses and companies are taking advantage of the popularity of text message abbreviations to be on-trend as they communicate effectively with customers.

Here is a list of common text message marketing abbreviations:

  1. 5G: Fifth Generation – used when referring to the latest release of mobile or computer.
  2. TBA: To be announced – can be used when the schedule is not yet specific.
  3. FYI: For your information – it can be used when sending important information to the receiver.
  4. EGAD: Expression of excitement or agitation – usually used when excited, angry, or agitated.
  5. ROI: Return of investment – this is used to indicate the financial results that a business would get from an investment.
  6. WOTD: Word of the day – can be used when sending a word of interest to the receiver.
  7. ASAP: As soon as possible – this is usually used in text messages when needing something done immediately.
  8. PPL: People – usually sent out when referring to a large number of people.
  9. ICYMI: In case you missed it – probably sent out when the sender wants to ensure that the receiver has gotten all the information.
  10. MOTD: Message of the day – can be used in text messages when sending a message of interest to the receiver.
  11. TBC: To be confirmed – used when saying something has not yet been approved or agreed upon.
  12. TMC: Traffic, weather, and conditions – can be used in text messages when indicating this information before sending it.
  13. COB: Close of Business – used when sending a message for the last day of business.
  14. MCOTD: Missed Connections of The Day is usually sent out when selling something or offering an item for sale on the internet.
  15. MCOTD: Moment of Clarity of The Day might be used when referring to a very profound or meaningful moment.
  16. TBTG: To Be Too Good – can be sent out when describing that the receiver has exceeded the sender’s expectations in terms of attractiveness, intelligence, etc.
  17. NOLT: Need One Like This – can be used when referring to finding someone who meets a specific requirement for something.
  18. NSFW: Not safe for work – this is usually sent out to warn the receiver that the material found or received might not be appropriate in terms of where they are at the moment.
  19. DM: Direct Message – can be used to send a private message or direct message.
  20. TRAP: Text Rate and Power – text messages are usually sent out when customers want to provide feedback about their cell phone carrier.

How to Use Text Abbreviations in SMS

There are many ways to use text abbreviations in SMS. People say that it makes sense to use them when sending a text message because of the limit in character number. Also, there’s an advantage in using abbreviations because it makes the information easier to read and understand.

Using abbreviations in the right way can also help businesses break through consumers. With text abbreviations, you can naturally reach them using text message marketing and initiatives for the company.

Here are some tips to help you use SMS abbreviations in the right way.

  1. The Simpler, the Better – use abbreviations that are easy to read, understand, and remember. Text slang can be personal, but it is best to avoid shortcuts too far off the norm, especially for business. Opt for classic text abbreviations such as BTW and TIA. Likewise, avoid cramming too many letters in an acronym.
  2. Stay Professional – avoid using foul language in your text abbreviations, whether for personal or business text. Text messages lack tone and emotion. Thus it is harder to convey the right message at times. When you add edgy abbreviations, the reader will have a complicated time understanding your message. Stick to family-friendly text abbreviations and slang.
  3. Use Sparingly – avoid using text abbreviations when you are trying to sound formal. It makes the message harder to read and understand, especially if it is full of shortcuts. Being professional in business requires avoiding slang words and text abbreviations unless they are appropriate for the occasion.

Examples of how to use text abbreviations in SMS

Here are some of the common text abbreviations in SMS and examples of how you can use them in typical text conversations. Using these abbreviations allows SMS users to say more with their text messages than they would when using the whole phrase or sentences.

  1. FWIW: For what it’s worth (Ex. “FWIW, I still believe you did a fantastic job in school today.”)
  2. PPL. “People.” (Ex. “Those PPL are toxic.”)
  3. NBD. “No big deal.” (Ex. “Marketing came in late again today, NBD.)
  4. TBH. “To be honest.” (Ex. “You are wearing a weird shirt, TBH.”
  5. ICYMI. “In case you missed it.” (Ex. “ICYMI, I sent you an email about this afternoon’s meeting.”)
  6. BP. “Best regards.” (Ex. “Thanks for this, BP.”)
  7. TRMK: Think that makes me laugh. (Ex. “Guess what, I heard you got fired! TRMK.”)
  8. POV. “Point of view.” (Ex. “I think the novel had a good POV.”)
  9. TTYL: Talk to you later (Ex. “I’ll see you at lunch, TTYL!”)
  10. COD: Cash on Delivery (Ex. We offer COD on orders $40 and above)
  11. TIL: Today, I learned (Ex. RT @business: TIL that just 1% of text messages contain punctuation.)
  12. QOTD: Quote of the day (Ex. “We got so many QOTDs that you’ll create a brilliant post!”)
  13. ROTFL: Rolling on the floor laughing (Ex. “I ROTFL when I saw your face in this meme.”)
  14. TMB: Tweet me back (Ex. “Let me know what you think about the recipe! TMB”)
  15. TL;DR: Too long, didn’t read (Ex. “Read my email! TL;DR”)

How did SMS Abbreviations Emerge?

SMS abbreviations have emerged as a significant communication language for mobile and internet communication since 1992. Since test engineer Niel Papworth sent the first message, the SMS language has evolved over the past three decades.

The first text message was sent in 1992, and it had a 160-character limit. At that time, there were only 26 letters available for use. Thus abbreviations are popular because they allow you to shorten words. From then on, people started using more shortcuts to send messages faster. Now, after more than 20 years of evolution, over 1 billion text messages are being sent per day.

Today’s texting language has many different abbreviations for expressing emotions and thoughts swiftly and efficiently. Most people think these shortcuts are just for fun and have no real value, but research has shown that texting abbreviations help us learn new languages.

In a study by Oxford University Press, British teenagers were asked to translate an English sentence into their native language, Slovak. The sentence was originally in text slang, and it has common shortcuts in texting, such as “OMG” and “LOL.” It turned out that the Slovak teenagers who were asked to translate these sentences into their native language were more familiar with the text abbreviations than other teenagers. It means that using shortcuts to communicate via text messages has helped young people learn new languages faster.

Text messages have a significant impact on the way we communicate. Most people appreciate shortcuts used in texting, and they help us learn new languages faster. Using acronyms and abbreviations is fun and efficient when you want to get your message across fast.

Is SMS Abbreviations International?

Yes! SMS abbreviations are used and understood internationally. Nowadays, language is not a barrier to communication because text messages are a universal languages. It means that people of different nationalities can easily express their thoughts and emotions through familiar shortcuts.

Because of this trend, more than one billion people worldwide use texting abbreviations daily, regardless of location. People who are unfamiliar with text message abbreviations or acronyms can ask their friends what the shortcuts mean. If you are willing to learn some new shortcuts for texting, consider checking this list of common abbreviations people use these days.

But how did SMS abbreviations go international?

An essential element was the ability of mobile phone companies to communicate (at first just communications) across the planet. Charges are common, but a worldwide and multicultural text language took off in the middle of the decade.

The enormous popularity of social media is the most recent element contributing to worldwide SMS. Apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Weibo, and WeChat are the lifelines of communication linking people in Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceanian nations and islands, and those living in the far reaches of the wilderness. These text-based applications allow users to mix languages and abbreviations to their heart’s content. And users do just that because it is faster and easier than typing out long messages.

What are the Advantages of Using Message Abbreviations?

There are various advantages when using message abbreviations in SMS messaging. Composing text using older mobile phones was laborious; thus, users adapted to the keypad and character limited through abbreviations of common words. Here are some of the most known advantages of using text abbreviations:

  1. Convenience – Once you have become accustomed to typing out text abbreviations, it becomes second nature. It does not take much effort for you to type out a word compared to typing out the whole word.
  2. Activated Memory – Message abbreviations are intelligent because they help users remember words by association. For instance, “gr8” is short for “great.”
  3. Saves Time – Texting is a way to communicate quickly and in rush situations. Therefore, message abbreviations help users save time when they type messages.
  4. Global understanding – People from different countries can easily understand text abbreviations because they are universal.
  5. On-trend – Because text abbreviations are the latest trend in the industry.

What are the Disadvantages of Using Message Abbreviations?

While text message abbreviations are common, there are still some disadvantages to their use. Not everyone can comprehend a complex mix of acronyms of abbreviations. 

Here are some of the most cited disadvantages for its text message abbreviations.

  1. Ambiguity – There are times when text abbreviation users do not know the meaning of specific acronyms or abbreviations. It can lead to confusion, especially since abbreviations may be used in different ways by other people using them.
  2. It slows down the message – Another disadvantage of using message abbreviations is that it takes time to learn and understand certain acronyms. Also, it takes time to compose messages using these acronyms, which can be burdensome at times.
  3. Not easy to understand – Some abbreviations may not seem clear or straightforward. It makes it difficult for people who are not familiar with the text language of SMS message abbreviation users.
  4. Lack of privacy – When using text abbreviations, the message can be read by unintended people.

Can Text Message Abbreviations Be Used in SMS Marketing?

Yes! Text message abbreviations can be used in SMS marketing in many different ways. 

One way is to create a text message campaign through the use of common abbreviations. By using SMS marketing, marketers can send various promotional offers and sales messages to customers who have subscribed to receive such notifications.

With text messaging becoming part of almost everyone’s daily lives, it is an excellent platform for businesses or companies that rely on internet-based marketing to promote their goods and services. Some of the well-known benefits of using text message abbreviations in SMS marketing include:

  • It is a low-cost medium – Text message abbreviations are relatively inexpensive than other means of communication.
  • Personalized – SMS abbreviations can be customized according to the type of audience and market for each campaign. It allows companies to target their campaigns, making them more effective.
  • High rate of response – Users who receive promotion or sales messages respond to them more often than users who do not get these messages.
  • Convenience – The convenience of mobile devices enables you to send text messages at the press of a button.

Still, SMS marketers should also be aware of the cons of using text abbreviations in marketing. Some important things to remember are the following:

  • Do not assume that everyone uses text message abbreviations – While it is true that texting has become very popular, there are still people who are not familiar with the language. For SMS marketers to connect, they should also understand that all customers may not know abbreviations or acronyms.
  • Some messages may get mixed up – There are times when the intended message gets jumbled up because of abbreviations. It can be disconcerting if it happens to an important business-related text message.
  • Use for casual conversation only – SMS marketing is not for building a business relationship with customers. For this reason, marketers should avoid using abbreviations that are too casual. Using abbreviations like “lol” or “idk” can confuse customers about the message they received about a business transaction.

There is no standard list of text message abbreviations. A common complaint among SMS marketers is that there is no standard for acronyms. It means that not all readers will understand what abbreviations or acronyms in the text.

Scroll to Top