Text Speak - English

Text Speak

When surfing the net and chatting with friends via messenger, Whatsapp, or even sms, you may sometimes come across Text Speak. This can include special abbreviations, acronyms, or slang that are commonly used only in mobile or online texting contexts. For non-native English speakers this Text Speak can be quite confusing.

Here are some examples of Text Speak, some of them are more common than others but they are good to know just in case.

In some cases the Text Speak are letters or numbers that sound like words or phrases when put together.

CU = See you

L8er = later

4eva = forever

How RU? = How are you?

ur = you're

Gr8 = great

thx = thanks


Other examples find their origins in acronyms.

yolo = you only live once

FYI = for your information

rofl = roll on the floor laughing

IDK = I don't know

asap = as soon as possible

LOL = laugh out loud


brb =  be right back

OMG = Oh my god!

IMO = in my opinion

IMHO = in my humble opinon

nw = no worries

fomo = fear of missing out

Many cases of Text Speak have also entered spoken English. Don't be too surprised if you hear someone give you some new information after saying FYI. Or if someone yells WTF! or OMG! after hearing some bad news. Your friend might encourage you to take a risk and sau YOLO. And you might just jump on the bandwagon because of fomo. 

You should be careful when using Text Speak as it is quite informal, so it is best to take the lead from you native English speaking friend if you are unsure. However, that is not to say that these are not real words. Examples of Text Speak have been officially entering English language dictionaries for years. Don't believe me? Check out the Oxford Dictionary's entry for the official noun fomo. Or see what Cambridge dictionary has to say about YOLO.

There have even been cases where Shakespeare has been adapted to include the creative wonders of Text Speak, not to mention emojis.

Final thought

Text Speak can be found in context of online chat or sms, and sometimes they are even used in spoken English. These situations are generally informal so be aware of your context. For example, in general, emails should not contain Text Speak. If you'd like to learn more about Email structure in English, click here.

Do you know any Text Speak from other languages? Leave a comment below.