Common English Abbreviations

Common English Abbreviations

Common English Abbreviations

Common English Abbreviations

Contractions

The English language contains a number of abbreviations, or words that are shortened in order to make them easier to write and pronounce. The most common kind of abbreviations are called contractions. A contraction is formed by joining two words with an apostrophe. For example, the words ‘you are,’ can be joined by a contraction, becoming ‘you’re.’

Contractions exist in Spanish as well, but there aren’t as many as in English. In Spanish, there are only two commonly used contractions. ‘A el,’ is contracted to ‘al,’ and ‘de el’ is contracted to ‘del.’ Notice that the vowel, the ‘e,’ is removed in order to join the two words. Most English contractions are formed the same way by removing a vowel, but in English, you include an apostrophe to show that the words have been contracted.

Here is a list of the most common English contractions and their meanings:

can’t – cannot
couldn’t – could not
don’t – do not
doesn’t – does not
didn’t – did not
I’m – I am
you’re – you are
he’s – he is
she’s – she is
we’re – we are
they’re – they are
it’s – it is
that’s – that is
there’s – there is
how’s – how is
let’s – let us
shouldn’t – should not
won’t – will not

Some of these contractions are irregular, such as ‘won’t,’ in which case the word ‘will’ is changed completely. These contractions can only be learned by memorisation, because they don’t follow any rules. There are other English contractions, including complicated ones such as ‘shouldn’t’ve,’ which means ‘should not have,’ but these are rare. If you remember that ‘s’ means ‘is,’ ‘re’ means ‘are,’ ”t’ means ‘not,’ ‘d’ means ‘would,’ ”ve’ means ‘have’ and ‘ll’ means will, you will be able to understand most English contractions.

Common English Abbreviations

Currency symbols are another common form of abbreviation

Other Abbreviations

Other English abbreviations are formed by using only the first letter or the first syllable of a word. The most common of these abbreviations are probably ‘a.m.’ and ‘p.m.’ These are easy to understand for Spanish speakers, because they are also used in Spanish, referring to the hours of the day. These abbreviations come from the Latin expressions ‘ante meridian’ and ‘post meridian,’ with meridian meaning ‘midday.’

Most English abbreviations are shortened forms of Latin words. ‘Etc.’ is a common abbreviation that comes from the Latin ‘et cetera,’ meaning ‘and the others.’ ‘Etc.’ is often included at the end of lists, to show that there are more items that haven’t been included. The abbreviation ‘e.g.’ means ‘for example,’ and ‘i.g.’ means ‘in other words.’ These are probably the most common abbreviations you will come across while reading in English, and people will sometimes use them while speaking as well.

Common English Abbreviations

Some common abbreviations of Latin words that were used in the Middle Ages

In the past, there were many more English abbreviations. Before the invention of the printing press, books and articles had to be copied by hand, and writers came up with a complicated system of abbreviations to make copying faster. The entire syllables were replaced with symbols, for example, the syllable ‘er’ would be replaced with ‘ɔ.’ A word like ‘master’ would be written ‘mastɔ.’ The abbreviations we use today are remnants of this old system, and we’re lucky we don’t have to remember as many as people did in the past.