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What are Abbreviations in Business Correspondence
In business correspondence a number of abbreviations are used, some of which are only suitable for informal communication, some only for electronic communication.

In business correspondence a number of abbreviations are used, some of which are only suitable for informal communication, some even for electronic communication only (e.g. emoticons). In formal business letters, a clear, formal writing style should be used, however, there exist some instances in which the use of abbreviations is appropriate to save both space and time.

Formal widely used abbreviations:

  • ASAP - as soon as possible
  • attn - attention: to show that a letter is for the attention of a particular person
  • BYOB - bring your own bottle: used on invitations to show that you should bring your own beverage to a party or get-to-gether
  • cc - used on a business letter or e-mail to indicate that a copy of a given letter is being sent to the person mentioned
  • c/o or c/- - care of: used in the address on a letter or parcel that you are sending to someone at another person’s house
  • encl. - enclosed or enclosure: used at the top or bottom of a letter to show that an attachment has been included in the letter
  • FAO - for the attention of: written in front of someone’s name on a document, letter, or envelope to show that it is intended for them
  • FYI - for your information: written on a business letter or e-mail to show that it is being sent to someone for their information only; they are not expected to reply or take any action
  • pp - on behalf of - written in front of someone’s name when you are signing a letter for them
  • PPS - written before a note at the end of a letter, after the PS note
  • PS - postscript: used for introducing some additional information at the end of a letter after you have signed your name
  • PTO - please turn over: used at the bottom of a page to indicate that there is a second page (informal)
  • RE - used in business letters to introduce their subject matter
  • ref. - reference: used in a business letter when you are giving the numbers and letters that show exactly which document or piece of information you are writing about
  • RSVP - used on written invitations to ask the invited person to confirm their attendance

Abbreviations in titles:

  • Mr. - Mister - used when adressing men
  • Messrs. - used when addressing two or more men, as in Messrs. Smith and Wesson
  • Mrs. - Misses - used for women if you are sure that they are married and for those who do not prefer another title
  • Ms. - used for women, regardless of their marital status. Usually the safest bet
  • Dr. - Used with addressees who you know have earned a doctorate, not only in medicine

Abbreviations in time and date:

  • a.m. (am) - ante merediem = before midday - used with a 12-hour clock
  • p.m. (pm) - post merediem = after midday - used with a 12-hour clock
  • BC - Before Christ - used to denote years prior to the birth of Jesus of Nazareth
  • AD - Anno Domini - used to denote years after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth

Other often used abbreviations in business letters:

  • a/c - account
  • appar. - Apparently
  • bus. - business
  • cf. - compare (Latin: confer)
  • comm. - commerce
  • Corp. - Corporation
  • dt - date
  • e.g. - for example (Latin exampli gratia)
  • et al. - and other people (Latin et alii)
  • etc. - and so forth (Latin et cetra)
  • i.e. - in other words (Latin id est)
  • ibid. - in the same book, chapter, page, etc. (Latin ibidem)
  • Ltd. Limited
  • nb. - nota bene
  • NOO - not on original
  • P&P - postage and packing
  • pdd - probable date of delivery
  • PIN - postal index number or Personal Identification Number
  • SAE - stamped (self-) addressed envelope
  • yr - year
  • ZIP (code) - Zone Improvement Plan (used in US addresses after the state designation to assure delivery)

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Last update: 17.07.2015

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