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English on the internet

NOTE: This lesson contains language that some may find offensive. Read on at your own discretion.

Facebook, Twitter, emails – a lot of English conversations happen online these days, and there is a new set of language being developed to make typing and texting faster. Often these are just abbreviations, but they can also be acronyms (words created for the first letter of a group of words, like NASA, which is The National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

This post is to help you communicate and understand more clearly when you are posting or reading online.

Here are some of the more common examples of internet English

AFAIK – as far as I know
Example: “Do we have to hand in our homework tomorrow?”, “Yes, AFAIK”
Meaning: this is used when the writer is saying that they believe this to be true, or they haven’t heard anything to the contrary.

IDK – I don’t know
Example: “Is there going to be a new X-Men movie?” “IDK, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”
Meaning: That the writer doesn’t know!

LOL – Laugh out loud
Example: “I told him I couldn’t go because I had to clean my room LOL”
Meaning: This is tricky. In its direct form, LOL means that the person found something funny. However, in recent usage, it has become used in a sarcastic manner, when something is NOT funny.

AITR – adult in the room
Example: “Can’t talk now – AITR”
Meaning: Used by younger people, this is used when an online conversation about something personal or that an adult wouldn’t approve of has to stop because an adult is in the room.

FML – Fuck my life
Example: “Somebody broke a bottle of cooking oil on the floor, and I had to clean up. FML”
Meaning: used to express annoyance or despair. It is often used in a work related context when a person feels they have been given a horrible job.

ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing
Example: “John sat down and his chair collapsed! ROFL!”
Meaning: ‘To roll about laughing’ is an English idiom used when the speaker finds something particularly funny. This is sometimes extended to ROFLMAO – rolling on the floor laughing my ass off (a more extreme version of ROFL)

FFS – For fucks sake
Example: “FFS – I got another speeding ticket!”
Meaning: this is used to express anger or annoyance. It is similar to FML (fuck my life), but not as despairing/depressing, focusing more on anger. This is not suitable for every situation – when you need to be less rude, use ‘For goodness sake’

IMO / IMHO – In my opinion / in my honest opinion
Example: “IMHO you shouldn’t quit your job – it’s not a good time to be looking for work”
Meaning: The speaker is presenting their opinion on a topic. The addition of the ‘honest’ doesn’t change the meaning – they are used as synonyms.

OMG – Oh my God
Example: “OMG! He just asked me to marry him!”
Meaning: This is most commonly used to express excitement or shock.

NSFW – not safe work
Example: “Don’t open this until you get home it’s NSFW”
Meaning: whatever the speaker is referring to is not suitable to be seen or read in the workplace or public area.

This is definitely not a complete list of internet English vocabulary, so if you have any others that you think we should add (or that we haven’t added and you would like explained), just post in the comments area below.


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English on the internet

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English on the internet