Please reply

Have you ever come across the abbreviation R.S.V.P.? You’ll find it on invitations to parties and special events. It’s the shortened form of the French phrase “Répondez s’il vous plait” and means “Please reply” or, in rather formal terms, “Respond if you please”. All you need to do is to inform the writer whether you are going to attend or not.

A simple writing tip

A German colleague of mine invited me to attend one of his workshops. He used an abbreviation (that is a short way of writing a word or a phrase) that I was not able to understand. I had absolutely no idea what his workshop was about. I’m sure he didn’t realise it himself. He probably uses the abbreviation again and again. And that’s where the danger lies. We are so used to using abbreviations (like ‘etc.’ and ‘asap’), that we can’t imagine that others won’t understand them.

That’s why I always tell people to avoid abbreviations and to write the word or words out in full. So instead of writing ‘i.e.’, write ‘in other words’. And rather than write ‘F2F’, write ‘face to face’. Or ‘laugh out loud’, rather than ‘LOL’.

You’ll make it easier for your reader to understand you! 🙂


A little bit of Latin

A little bit of Latin

Letter - Iván Melenchón Serrano

You often see PS (or P.S.) after the main body and signature of an email or a letter. It’s Latin for “post scriptum” and means ‘written after’. So you might like to add a PS as an afterthought or if you would like to emphasize some kind of information.


They can be tricky!

They can be tricky!

rubber puzzles with colorful alphabets

Abbreviations (those are the shortened forms of words) can be difficult to understand. Only use them if you know that your readers will understand them. You might even like to spell them out the first time you use them in an email or letter if you really want to use them later in the text.

Instead of …                   write …
approx.                             approximately or about
asap                                 as soon as possible
BTW                                 by the way
DIY                                   do it yourself
Fyi                                    for your information
HQ                                    headquarters
max.                                  maximum
min.                                   minimum
24/7                                   24 hours a day, 7 days a week