AccenTraining Podcast

#120 How to Use Acronyms and Abbreviations in Writing and Speaking

June 22, 2022 Patrick Season 5 Episode 120
AccenTraining Podcast
#120 How to Use Acronyms and Abbreviations in Writing and Speaking
Show Notes Transcript

Do you ever read or hear abbreviated titles? Have you ever wondered how to abbreviate your speech in a way that native English speakers will follow easily? Listen in to better understand how to use acronyms and abbreviations, and give your English speech the confidence in sound that it deserves.

While some sound go unpronounced in English, acronyms and abbreviations change entire words to a combination of letters.

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Read along for yourself and practice the following phrases with me:

Too much information
Thanks for the details, but... TMI.

ZIP code
Zone Improvement Plan Code
Enter your ZIP code to confirm your order.

Estimated Time of Arrival
"What's your ETA?"

BYOB Bring Your Own Booze
The BBQ is Saturday at 1pm, BYOB.

NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration

ASAP As Soon As Possible
Get back to me via email ASAP. 

Speaker 1:

Welcome to the accent training podcast, a podcast where I teach you to take command of the sounds of your spoken English. My name is pat. I'm a coach of the American accent. However, I'm from Toronto, Canada, and I live in Mexico at the moment. And today I'd like to teach you how you can take control of your spoken English without even saying complete words. I wanna talk about acronyms and I want to talk about abbreviations, TMI, ETA B Y O B NASA zip codes. Let's talk about these today. Let's come to understand the subtle differences between acronyms and abbreviations and how you as a non-native English speaker can adjust these to your own speech so that you use them as confidently as a native English speaker. So if you've got a pen and paper handy, make sure that you take some notes so that these stick for you so that you don't forget them easily. And I say a pen and paper, not just a computer or your cell phone , because we get a stronger memory connection. When we physically write this down. Now, if your hands are busy, if you're driving, if you're flying an airplane or if you're washing dishes, then I get it. But if you're just chilling and you wanna make the most outta your time, grab a pen, grab some paper and get ready to take some notes. Now, while you search for your pen and paper, I would just like to remind you that I appreciate the support of my listeners when they subscribe to this podcast. Now, I know people are hearing this message and that people are hitting that subscribe button because over the last couple months, my subscribers have shot way up across all platforms. I've gotta say I'm in a good mood. And so if you haven't already, don't hesitate to hit that subscribe button in order to be notified. As soon as I have more episodes out for you to learn from today's lesson first off, what's the difference between an acronym and an abbreviation? Well, an acronym is when we take the first letters of a series of words, and we combined each of those first letters to make a word of their own. So an acronym needs to be pronounced as that combination of letters together, like an actual word. As I mentioned , uh , zip code or NASA, these are acronyms. We pronounce each of these first letters as a word of its own. Even the word laser is actually an acronym laser. You can feel free to look that up. Now, an abbreviation on the other hand also takes a bunch of first letters from words, but it combines them in a way that we don't pronounce as a word on its own, like TMI or DIY ETA, or I'm sure everybody's heard of the FBI or anybody paying taxes in the United States has heard of the I, these are abbreviations. We just pronounce the letters. We don't combine them into a new word of their own. So quick recap, acronyms, take a series of initial letters from words and combine them to make a word of their own abbreviations. Take a series of initial letters from words, but only pronounce each individual letter. Uh, sometimes we even do this with countries, right? The USA, the UK, or KSA, right kingdom of Saudi Arabia. So now comes the part where you gotta take some notes. If you can, we're gonna break down a good handful of these six of them, eh , plus one little bonus, one, some are acronyms, some are abbreviations. And we're gonna determine what each of these words is, what that word means, what it means and how you can use it. The first one I'd like to bring to your attention is TMI . TMI . Is this an acronym or an abbreviation? This is an abbreviation. I'm only pronouncing the initial letters of three different words. And I say, TMI, TM. I TMI TMI. This is to say too much information. We say this when somebody's sharing a story and reveals details that you would probably have rathered not hear. You can simply say, Hey, TMI. It's like saying, let's talk about something else. I'm a little uncomfortable knowing these details, TMI, TMMI too much information. The next one I'd like to bring to your attention is zip code, zip code Z I P code zip code. What does zip stand for Z I P what is that? Well, that stands for your zone improvement plan, zone improvement, plan , zip code. And tell me , is zip code an acronym or an abbreviation? Zip code is an acronym because it's pronouncing a word of its own, right? Chances are you've only ever said zip code. Maybe you'd never once said zone improvement plan, but zip code you've heard of your zip code is a part of your address in the United States. If you wanna receive anything in the mail, you need to provide your zip code. Likewise, if you're using a credit card to pay for things online, you likely need to enter your zip code as well. I don't have much to say about zip code, but until today , honestly, I had no idea what it stood for. So now we can share this moment together. Zone improvement plans, zip code Z I P zip codes. Now maybe I didn't know that because I'm Canadian. You know, in Canada, we call it a postal code, postal code. We don't say zip code. We say postal code. And it's written differently from a zip code. So maybe all Americans know this. Maybe you already knew it meant zone improvement plan. And it's just a foreign concept to me moving forward. This next one sounds very professional to me. I really like it. I've always liked how this one sounds ETA. ETA, estimated time of arrival ETA. First off, is this an acronym or is this an abbreviation? This is an abbreviation. My friend. You were probably correct. It's an abbreviation because it only pronounces the letters. Acronyms, make words, abbreviations. Only the letters E T a estimated time of arrival. This is simply the time that you are guessing you'll arrive somewhere. Or honestly, I even use it to say how long it will be until I arrive my ETA estimated time of arrival. So this sounds very professional and you wanna keep it handy. You wanna keep this one on the top of your mind, if you haven't written down anything yet, write this down. If you can suppose that you're on your way to pick someone up at the airport and they're waiting for you in the pickup zone, you can simply message them ETA five minutes, just that ETA five minutes. This is a nice, quick way of saying I will arrive in five minutes, ETA five minutes, or you can even ask somebody what's your ETA. Again, this sounds very professional and even a bit formal. What's your ETA? How long will it be until you arrive? What's your ETA? So what's your ETA. You can respond ETA one hour ETA one hour. Easy as that. This is very simple, clear, concise language for describing and time of arrival. It does look better. I suppose, written as a text message than said out loud, but you can say it out loud. You could say , I would say this out loud. I wouldn't feel awkward about it. What's your ETA ETA. One hour ETA, 20 minutes, ETA 7:00 PM. Estimated time of arrival. 7:00 PM. Try it out for yourself up next for you. I have B Y O B B Y O B . I'm not reading it out like B , but I'm saying B Y O B . And because I'm saying B Y B , we know that this is not an acronym. This is an abbreviation B Y O B . You may see this on a party. Invitation, B B Y O B . Bring your own booze, bring your own booze. This is a way to say that people are free to drink alcohol if they'd like to, but they must bring their own. Oh , and booze is another common term for alcohol booze. Bring your own booze. B Y O B . I understand many people listening. Probably don't drink alcohol and Hey, that's good. However, who knows? Maybe you'll meet an American friend sometime, right? You're inviting them over to your house for dinner, for a barbecue. And you feel comfortable with them drinking alcohol. Its just , you don't want any. So why would you buy alcohol? If you're not gonna drink any? It's not like you have any need to buy any wine or beer. You can simply add to your invitation. B Y B bring your own booze. As I said, this phrase tip typically describes social gatherings. You could write this at the end of an invitation over email or text message. For example, it's like the barbecues this Saturday at 1:00 PM B by OB , simple as that B OB bring your own booze B by OB . Feel free to get a buzz on. Feel free to drink what you like, but don't expect me to give it to you. Bring your own. Oh and as a bonus word. How about barbecue? Now? You see when spelled barbecue can be written like a BBQ BBQ . You don't need to write the entire word. Barbie Q you can just spell it quickly like that BBQ saying BBQ out loud. However, honestly it sounds awkward to my ears. It's something I've only ever heard. Non-native English speakers do. They'll say, oh, we're gonna have a BBQ . Native English speakers will typically say barbecue out loud, but spelling. They'll always spell it. BBQ . I'm not trying to put anybody down. I'm just trying to tell you, this is what we're listening for. This is how we can tell this. Person's a native speaker. This person's not little things like this. This is what I'm here to show you my friend. So I would never say out loud, I'm having a BBQ this weekend. You should pop in. Let's say I'm having a barbecue. I would certainly send that as a written message. But I would never say that out loud. Speaking out loud, I would say barbecue. So I'm having a barbecue this weekend. B Y O B . Bring your own booze. I guess we're going into the summer season right now. Right? So that's actually pretty relevant for a lot of people. Anyway, moving on NASA, NASA, N a S NASA, is that an abbreviation or is NASA an acronym? NASA is an acronym because it's pronouncing each of those letters together as a word NASA. This stands for the national aeronautics and space administration. Now of course the national aeronautics and space administration, that's way too long of a name to say, these scientists are busy. And so in all of their brilliance, they've shortened it down to NASA, NAS a for short, we just say NASA . Now note how I make that a sound in there. NASA , NASA , not NAA , NAA , but NASA. I have heard a lot of people pronounce a clear tense, a sound here. And I'm here to tell you my friend, we use a Y a the a instead NASA, NASA. And if you need to check out those Y a intense a sounds, we'll look on back through those previous episodes. I talk about those way back in episodes, fifties and sixties, you can check out the Y day all the way back there and work on getting a nice, clear, ah , versus an a sound NASA . So we've spoken about five so far, plus barbecue as a bonus BBQ . And I've got one more that I'd like to bring to your attention today, ASAP, ASAP , ASAP. Tell me, what do you think is ASAP an acronym or is ASAP and abbreviation? I'll tell you what, my friends it's used both ways. This can be pronounced ASAP or ASAP. I'm telling you native English speakers use it both ways. Try it out yourself, ASAP, ASAP. Now, what does it mean? It means as soon as possible, as soon as humanly possible, this means as soon as this can be done within the limitations that physics sets on humans, if you send a message to somebody and you rank get this done ASAP, get this done ASAP, you're adding a sense of urgency to your message. Now, of course, that's very necessary. Sometimes if you have a due date coming up for an important project that you're working on, you need to get your information in ASAP. No doubt about that. However, I have had situations where people have used the word ASAP with me when it came across a little rude, you know, it came across like there was a sense of urgency that wasn't really warranted. And so I'd like to let you know my friend ASAP, ASAP. Hey, it's great. If there's an emergency, it's great. If you have an urgent need, if something must be done immediately, then definitely add in ASAP, get this back to me ASAP. It's like, don't get distracted, stay focused, get the job done. However, if there isn't much of a rush, in my opinion, it's better to say at your earliest convenience, or even blending some words together here at your earliest convenience, please get this back to me at your earliest convenience. When it's most convenient for you to take the time to do this, get back to me. Please consider the dates that you're available. And let me know what you think at your earliest convenience. You know, the soonest time that it's an easy thing to do at your earliest convenience. It sounds professional. It's clear, and it comes across very genuine, very light compared to ASAP, get this done right away, ASAP or ASAP. Do this for me ASAP, eh , do this for me at your earliest convenience. When it won't be a bother when it won't be a hassle at your earliest convenience and folks that brings us to the end of our list for today, six short forms of words, some of which are acronyms, some of which are abbreviations we've discussed, which is which, and then I even threw an extra abbreviation in there for ya little barbecue. So let's just go over that list once more and then we're gonna call it a day . We've got TMI, too much information. I'm uncomfortable. Please change the topic. TMI too much information. I don't like these details. Zip code. This stands for your zone improvement plan. And it is an acronym ETA, an abbreviation for estimated time of arrival. What's your ETA? Five minutes, just five minutes. ETA is five minutes, B Y O B . Bring your own booze, abbreviated B Y OB , feel free to come over here. Get a little buzz on, have a couple of beers, but bring your own. And that's useful, of course, for when you're throwing a barbecue this summer shortened in spelling to a BBQ that is all followed by NASA, the national aeronautics and space association, way too long, way too many syllables. Let's shorten that to NASA, NASA, not a NAA , but NASA. Nice little acronym, easy to remember. And then finally ASAP, ASAP, ASAP. This is used both ways, both as an acronym and as an abbreviation, get this done ASAP, get this done ASAP, get this done ASAP. Both of these meanings imply that there's a sense of strong urgency and Hey, if things aren't so urgent, just tell them at your earliest convenience at your earliest convenience. Well, I'm glad that you've taken the time today to treat your language skills to a few useful tips, which are truly going to boost your confidence and take your use of spoken English to new Heights. Now, while I've got you here, let me ask you a quick question. Do you ever get tired of endlessly searching through YouTube and social media, trying to piece together bits of information to improve your spoken English, these bits and pieces of information will certainly give you a decent boost. They don't hurt your English speaking skills at all. They do help, but if you wanna see some serious progress, you've gotta take time to focus on one specific area of your English. If we take things one area at a time, then we'll be able to quickly exchange any fear of speaking English like at your job, or when meeting new people with confidence and excitement to try the new things that you've learned. Now, if that's what you're looking for, you gotta dive into my American accent video course, my friend, it's incredible. You get about four hours of video lessons from me directly to you, along with a ton of materials written by me personally, to give your American accent, the focused boost that it deserves and set you on the right track towards controlling your accent. When speaking, if you're looking for hard hitting materials and the flexibility to practice, whenever you like check out that link in the description and get started with me with my TMY course, where I will help you learn the American accent. And beyond that, I am open for business these days, folks. So if you're interested in one-on-one classes, don't hesitate to send me a direct message on Instagram at accent training club. And we can discuss how we can get started working one on one to reach your goals of speaking English with an American accent, I'll be more than happy to work with you . Well, my friends, thank you very much for your time. Thank you for your focused attention. And I look forward to further teaching you how to harness the power of your spoken English in the days to come have a good one .