• Mai Duc Nguyen

IELTS Vocabulary Tips – Common English Abbreviations and Foreign Words

1, e.g.,

“e.g.,” means “for example”, and you use it to introduce one or a few examples to strengthen your analysis. This abbreviation is mostly used in informal written English.

Example: There is a variety of car models, e.g., Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota, that customers can choose from in this store.

2, i.e.,

“i.e.,” stands for “meaning that”, and this abbreviation is used to expand or explain the meaning of a phrase or sentence. Again, it is commonly used in informal written English.

Example: The current minimum wage, i.e., 12 dollars per hour, is not enough to help middle class families make ends meet.

3, vs.

“vs.” is used when two parties confront each other in a sport context, fight, or competition. The full English word for this abbreviation is “versus”.

Example: Footfall fans are very excited for the match tonight that features Manchester City vs. Manchester United.

4, etc.

“etc.” means “and more”, and this abbreviation is used to indicate that a list is not exhaustive. It is commonly used in both informal and formal writing.

Example: This Silicon Valley of Malaysia is home of many startups that belong to different industries, such as entertainment, healthcare, IT infrastructure, etc.

5, aka

“aka” stands for “also known as”. We use this abbreviation to introduce a common nickname of a subject.

Example: Michael Jackson, aka “the King of Pop”, died after years of suffering from drug abuse.


“TLDR” is the abbreviation for “Too Long Didn't Read”. You normally use this phrase (at the top of your post) when you want to make a very long written announcement or write something very long.

7, per se

“per se” has a Latin origin, and it means “in itself”, “by itself” or “of itself”.

Example: It is not the interest rate hike per se that improves economic growth, but the increased household consumption that the hike leads to.

8, ad hoc

“ad hoc” means “when needed” or “when necessary”. Additionally, we also use this abbreviation to refer to something that is created for a specific purpose and not for continuous use.

Example: We received an ad hoc request from the management team to expand opening hours to 9PM this weekend.

9, en masse

When a group of people does something “en masse”, they are doing it in a group or all together.

Example: More than 10 states filed lawsuits against the central government en masse.

10, ex ante

The literal English translation of “ex ante” is “before the event”. This abbreviation is often used in the financial world, and it indicates analyses based on forecasts rather than actual results or facts.

Example: Stock market investors are too familiar with hearing ex ante rumors every day.

11, de facto

If someone holds a position “de facto”, he/ she may have assumed it or earned it not in a legal way.

Example: The military leader became the de facto leader of the country after his coup succeeded.

12, RSVP

“RSVP” has a French origin. In English, it means “Please Respond”. When sending out meeting or party invites, a host will include this abbreviation if he/ she requests a response from the guests.

Do you have other common English abbreviations or words that have a foreign origin? Please share with us and our readers by leaving a comment below!

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