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Grace Efezokhae: Abbreviations Or An Inability To Spell Correctly?



Gone are the days of sending love letters to loved ones. I remember how in secondary school, the girls had teased all those boys who couldn’t express themselves well in their love letters. You know all those kind of letters filled with “gbagaun” and wrong spellings that we had just be shouting “bullet o” when the yeye letter was read to the class.
See a sample of those “doxology” letters back in the days >>>>>

My dearest,
You are the only sugar in my tea; the only mosquito in my net; if all the trees in the world were trees and all the rivers in the world were ink, I will never stop writing and expressing myself. Even as I am writing, my adrenaline is 100 per cent on the Richter scale, my temperature is rising, the wind vane of my mind is pointing North, South and East at the same time; the mirror in my eyes has only your divine image.

No matter how I love handwritten letters, I just can’t stand guys who send me rubbish pick-up lines from text message books (I know when I see one *winks*). My interest in such person just wanes drastically. It shows the guy is boring as hell and just not creative. I block people like that from my life in a split second.

Now, all these letter writing has been replaced by social media; Yahoo messenger, WhatsApp, twitter, Facebook, SMS and the rest of them. We can’t really detect a guy or babe that speaks and writes good English again with all these abbreviations.
Today’s messages have become so abbreviated that sometimes I just ask myself if it is just me that is old school because sometimes I don’t understand them and I have to start asking for interpretations. And some others, I’ve come to accept them as the norms.

These shortcuts include: Brb- be right back, BUMP- Bring up my post, xoxo- kisses and hugs, IMO- In my opinion, fenk, tnks, tx- thanks, kikikiki- to mean one is laughing, lol- laugh out loud, HML- happy married life, HBD- happy birthday, bday- birthday,xup, awayu- how are you, TYL- Thank you lord, h8- hate, lwkmd- laugh wan kill me die, atm- at the moment, etc.

I am also on the #teamabbreviations but there are some that I just don’t seem to be comfortable with. How will someone say IJN instead of In Jesus Name, Gawd instead of God, TYL instead of Thank You Lord and mawning instead of morning. I just feel some things are better spelt in full. Some people take the response of k or kk as okay annoying. Some people even use “lol” anyhow. Can you imagine this kind of convo:
A: Please, am I chatting with Tayo?
B: I’m sorry. This is Tinuke, lol
A: Apologies
B: lol

Seriously, does lol not mean “laughing out loud” again? You can’t possibly be laughing even half as much as you say you’re laughing. Some others who see “k” as annoying may just reply you with “L” while others see a “K” response to mean that you are not interested in the conversation.

We write for effective communication and as much as possible, I think we should try and understand the person we are communicating with. There ae some times when these abbreviations make the person you are writing to lose even the real message you may be trying to pass across.

Maybe we should just have an abbreviation free week like we had the horn free day in Lagos, so we can even detect those who hide their spelling inadequacies with all these abbreviations. Some people can’t stand someone starting their names in small letters even if it is just in a bbm chat. I personally can’t stand anyone using abbreviations in an official mail or any other form of written formal communication. A man lost his job because he used “u” and “ur” instead of you and your in a mail he sent to other colleagues at work. It could seem very trivial but we have to tread caution on this abbreviations sometimes.

Do you think there is really no big deal in all these abbreviations and I am just making something big out of a very trivial issue?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | fantasyfactory13

Grace Efezokahe is a finance professional based in Toronto, Ontario. She is an avid reader, writer and traveller who loves to travel and share her experiences for others to see the world through her eyes. She can be reached on [email protected].


  1. Yinklezdimplez

    November 13, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    No dearie, you ain’t making a mountain out of a molehill. I use ‘K’ a lot just to signify ok, I have heard you etc. What irks me the most is writing morning as mawning, you as yhu, but as buh and the list is endless.

    Meanwhile, I am in support of a no abbreviation day so that we can know those who really can’t spell but hide u dey abbreviations.

  2. Yinklezdimplez

    November 13, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Under*…Please blame that on autocorrect.

  3. zayt

    November 13, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    The one i cant stand is ‘fenks’ instead of ‘thanks’. Soo irritating.

    • Anonymous

      November 14, 2014 at 8:44 am

      “Fenks” irritates the hell out of me too, and “finks” too.

      I sat beside a couple in the subway the other day, the guy told the babe something, the next thing i hears was “OMG”. For some reasons it annoyed me. Really, you are having a conversation and you are still using abbreviations. I jejely stood up and went to sit somewhere else.

    • Anonymous

      November 14, 2014 at 8:46 am

      * heard

    • fyre

      November 14, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      How about “happy buffday” really?!

    • Genny's # 1 Fan

      November 14, 2014 at 9:31 am

      And “Fanx” or when people use “am” in place of “I’m”…Gosh!! I could almost scream!

  4. bees

    November 13, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Met one fine boy and we exchanged numbers. He looked good and all but then he sent me a message on whatsapp : hey dearie,oww are yhu?
    …..And we didn’t live happily ever after….

    • name

      November 13, 2014 at 11:30 pm

      clown! looool

    • Dora the explorer

      November 13, 2014 at 11:44 pm


    • Just me

      November 14, 2014 at 12:27 am


    • nwanyi na aga aga

      November 14, 2014 at 9:49 am


    • Anna

      November 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Imagine you started dating him, then he sends a birthday message to one of your parents or elderly relations “HBD sir/ma! wish you llnp”…

  5. el patron

    November 13, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    i agree with you..

  6. Anne

    November 13, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    awayu. this got me laffing.

  7. Ephi

    November 14, 2014 at 12:03 am

    The whole “wiv” “buh” irritates the shit out of me. I mean buh and but have the same number of letters, so what’s the point? Don’t get me started with “fink” being used in place of think.

  8. omoibo

    November 14, 2014 at 12:13 am

    It’s actually a bid deal in my opinion, I for one, avoid using abbreviated words because I communicate frequently via email with clients & colleagues and there’s nothing worse than coming across half baked in your email due to unnecessary abbreviations. Our generation has just gotten intellectually lazy on my fronts especially in the communication department, the same people that will be the first to whine and complain that they didn’t get the job they were going for conveniently forget to mention that they have zero communication skills thanks to the constant use of abbreviations & emoticons. Just my 2 cents

  9. kdot

    November 14, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Not really making sense. These days, no time to really spell out completely because everyone is on d run. Asides, it’s a no no to write an official letter with abbreviations. The true test of spelling comes when one has to write manually on paper with a pen. This auto correct on androids, pcs etc will auto correct a poor speller. As for ‘bees’, you lost the fine boy. It’s not enough reason to leave a guy…..

  10. John Bosco

    November 14, 2014 at 12:32 am

    I cant stand “ow” instead of “how”, ‘av” instead of have, why are u chatting with me with H factor? i cant stand “buffday” that one drives me nuts and a lot of others but these two i mentioned

    • unadite

      November 14, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Na that buffday dey vex me pass

  11. nonconformist

    November 14, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Lmao at “And we didn’t live happily ever after”.I can totally relate @bees
    Mawning instead of morning is so annoying,also jes instead of just…haha!!!
    Are people writing like this in a bid to save time…I really don’t seem to get it anymore

  12. funmi

    November 14, 2014 at 2:01 am

    So glad to know I’m not alone in my frustration over this. I think it is beyond irritating to be honest. Initially I thought maybe it was because I haven’t been to Nigeria in almost 17 years (I left when I was 9) therefore I don’t understand most of the lingos used however, even those that frequent often have the similar issues. We’ve become lazy as a society with every single thing. Honestly if I have to rack my brain or ask you too often to decode all the encryptions you have sent as a “message” I will simply ignore you or block you. Call me rude or whatever it’s just my honest truth. The lack of effort in my opinion is disrespectful and so unattractive.

    • Z O B A

      November 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      1,000,001 likes for this

  13. ALEC

    November 14, 2014 at 2:19 am

    I have conversation issues with them that uses those abbreviations. I mean, how can one keep waking up to shiity greetings like “Good Morn”…….. Good Morn ko, Golden Morn ni.

    Nevertheless, I see that as Laziness. Those are the typical ladies that respond to conversations in monosyallbic. They don’t chat, they just reply.

  14. Iris

    November 14, 2014 at 4:34 am

    It is very telling that this post has only 4 comments. No, you are not making a mountain out of a molehill. I do not even want to get started on this subject for we will be here for a week. People cannot rub two bloody words together properly and don;t even seem to realise how terrible it is.

  15. BlueEyed

    November 14, 2014 at 5:49 am

    I look at abbreviation text style to be a thing quite popular among teenagers but for working adults who use 70% abbreviations in their communication style, that’s a tad bit weird…..I call people who do this with me out on their faults and tell them they are too old for such.

  16. Daniel

    November 14, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Sincerely, you’ve made a great point. It’s not just about ‘we’ that ain’t good at spelling but communication loosing value.
    “Lol’s” and “k’s” have taking over the world.

    I really love writing letters, I still do but less frequently because you ladies think it is old and crappy…hope I don’t get spanked.

    Let’s restore formal and informal letter writings, let’s restore communition and extinct silly ‘Abv’

    Did I just do that?? ‘Lol’

    So sick..nice post Gracy…hope it goes a long way!!!

    Readers: Kiss d errors

  17. oj

    November 14, 2014 at 7:10 am

    just noticed that everyone commenting here are not using abbreviations. that’s not what I usually see o.

  18. Truth Teller

    November 14, 2014 at 7:59 am

    It’s a huge real, yes it is! I don’t understand how and why any sane adult with adequate character space would decide to abbreviate just about everything. Some of them that get to me are: ‘jux’ ( just) ‘ods’ ( others) , ‘fink'( think), ‘llnp’, ‘tomao'( tomorrow) e.t.c. Haba, you be retard?!? I see it this way, if you’re out of characters in a limited character text, it’s different and some are understood, but not when it becomes a way of life. I honestly can’t stand it because I find it so difficult to understand some and find myself spending more time trying to decipher the content of the message itself, what for? I think it’s lazy and makes a person seem unserious.

  19. Truth Teller

    November 14, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Huge deal I meant

  20. Mis

    November 14, 2014 at 8:16 am

    My 11 year old daughter is aware that she will incur my wrath if she writes anything at all in abbreviations. I don’t want her to grow up and join the league of retarded adults who write shorthand/abbreviation in official emails and letters. If you write a job application letter to me in that way, you won’t be shortlisted.

  21. Yewbee

    November 14, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I couldn’t stop laughing at some of the abbreviations you pointed out (kikiki and awayu).
    I think it will be inappropriate to use abbreviations to communicate with someone you barely know.
    As a rule,I type in full when i am communicating with someone for the first time.
    Using abbreviations has its pros and cons.It saves time but you need to consider if the person you’re communicating with, fully understands what you’re saying and it could also make one look weird (imagine writing, to as 2 , or because , as bcuz, or behalf as b1/2 in an examination or in any other formal setting).
    Sometimes, i use these abbreviations to spell things in a “funky” way,(buh instead of but or fenks instead of thanks, but i must also admit that some could be annoying (Gm for good morning).
    When a person uses abbreviations inappropriately when communicating with me,i type the word in full or correct it in my response (am instead of i am or i’m).
    That way,the message has been passed across.

  22. Naijasinglegirl

    November 14, 2014 at 8:50 am

    My problem is those that type ‘gm’ rather than good morning. It kills me everytime! I never begged for your greetings. I simply reply with ‘m’ and move along.

    • yommy-yum

      November 14, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      loooool….nice idea at m.

    • Lola

      November 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

      How about gd am or gd pm. It so irks me, I could just punch the person through the phone

  23. dp

    November 14, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Really a whole lot these abbreviations are new to me, may because i have been off BB for a while, i think a lot of them are childish. I personal don’t take people who send me those kind of message serious

  24. Tos

    November 14, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Everyone is just been careful., i have taken my time to read everyone’s comment and still seen ‘4’ instead of ‘for’. We are all guilty of it, we do it once in a while if not every now and then. After today or go into another topic and see all these people commenting here go into their abbreviation or short hand skills….I myself do alot of abbreviations got no time for full spellings, i think is fine as long as you know when to switch like when doing some official stuffs….wt my pals i wud go all short hand, if u like u stay…if nt bounce!!!!

    P.S; i intentionally went writing full b4 doing the short hand thingy b4 u guys come running after me like am being too careful!

  25. Ebunoluwa

    November 14, 2014 at 10:03 am

    The use of abbreviations is not fine at all, I got so used to it to the extent that I write them unconsciously even in an exam. Since then I have stopped using them. It doesn’t save any time, it is simply laziness and it is gradually killing our communication skills.

  26. Beez

    November 14, 2014 at 10:19 am

    My 14 year old cousin sent me a whats app message. He wrote “Hy 6ta”. ……
    I am yet to respond to him sha because as far as I am concerned, his phone must have typed in error and sent to me.

  27. see this one

    November 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

    From your article, i pick on all these
    1. If no guy call, text, ask after you now, you go result to prayer say no guy dey ask you out. now they did, you are here complaining

    2. You determine the kind of friends you have in your life. If you are so up there, why do you have the kinda friends who use all those abbrevs? Dish them and go find professors to be friends with who will spell out all words.

    3. Life aint that hard my friend, people use that to make life easy. Rather than write a 9 letter word, if you can use 2/3, why not? doesnt necessarily mean laughing out loud, it means the person is smiling. If you say something cool, shouldnt the person smile?

    Life ain’t that difficult. If you like it, join them, if you don’t, forget about them and go your way
    Don’t spend time condemning them because they ain’t on your lane

    • Graciemama

      November 15, 2014 at 12:30 am

      This comment is so hilarious. You got me laughing so hard, I nearly fell off my bed.
      Thanks for your comment dear, I LOVE YOU…HAHAHAHAHAH!

  28. blah blah

    November 14, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Am I the only one seeing tthe gbagauns in this lady’s article? Or I need to wear my glasses. ‘from my lives’?! How many lives you got hun?

  29. Abbey Pearl

    November 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I wonder o! Even from the very first opening sentence! I thought they were “love letters” and not “loved letters”! I stand to be corrected though…

  30. Anna

    November 14, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Truth is it can become a habit if you do not curb it on time. I was initially on the bandwagon of shorthand as it was being used all around me (both at work and in social environments). Things like ‘pls’ ‘k’ ‘gm’ ‘hbd’ ‘hml’ amongst others replaced the actual words. I had to rewire myself to writing in full as it was becoming part of me. Now I try as much as possible not to abbreviate even with loved ones and friends.

  31. Timmy tim

    November 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Abbreviations are not bad if used appropriately with the right people like friends. However it becomes a problem when used with people you are not too familiar with or in a work environment. It can come across as been rude. I like guys who spell words out when communicating with me it shows intelligence not mediocrity.

  32. fyre

    November 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    MOH, MIL, lls, SDA etc……..everything and its grandmother is been abbreviated

  33. Gyvetty - Ghana

    November 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    You are right my dear. Some of the abbreviations stated in lots of convos are ubsolutely nonesense and distorting. I prepare writing and reading correct written sentences than with unreasonable abbreviations.

  34. Z O B A

    November 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    I loathe abbreviations in communication. So much that I let out my dissent openly. This stuff has destroyed so many folks’ ability to spell fairly, yet they believe they’re only making it shorter. I have my record of friends who have forgotten the appropriate use of “I’m”. No thanks to this seeming norm.
    Why use “mawnin”, “gawd”, “wrk”, “tke” etc when the correct thing is just a letter or less away from being complete? It seems more so that the female folks are more guilty of this misnomer. What a shame!!!

  35. Ade

    November 14, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I didn’t and can’t use abbreviations. I was groomed like that.

    Until this chick i met one day started with…. ‘sup’

    I…… ‘How are you doing’?

    She……… ‘fn tnx


    She…..’xup wit u’?

    I forgot her name until this day!

  36. D

    November 14, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    People all over the world use abbreviations whether you are in Timbuktu, Nigeria, New Zealand, the USA or the UK, abbreviations is a world wide phenomenon so please it has nothing to do with just a certain geographical location, i.e Nigeria. Lol, lmso, k, MIA and so on are well used all over the world. I personally use abbreviations. k, people say k in place of O-K when talking too so I don’t even consider that an abbreviation. My work also requires me preparing and giving presentations to top management officials (who are all “oyinbos”), communicating with vendors and people from all other countries and I can say so far my use of abbreviations is yet to be a problem. There is a difference between writing for officially purposes and writing in a casual setting.Abbreviations are here to stay so we I think we had better start embracing it. Now people that use abbreviations without knowing the proper meaning now that is an “smh” situation. The one I have seen Nigerians use incorrectly is lol for some reason some people think it means lots of love or loads of love. Just like any language using the right words is very important if you don’t know what it means look it up first. Thank God we have google today.

    • Jabz

      November 15, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Well, ‘LOL’ was actually ‘lots of love’ long before before our generation started using it as ‘laughing out loud’. Check with your older friends, siblings, or parents even.

  37. Easy n Gentle

    November 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    While I’m not defending the abbreviation craze, I must admit that I use abbreviations like FYA and FYI on official basis

  38. Sparks & Tingles

    November 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I have a very close female friend who can write a whole paragraph with just consonants and no punctuation marks, she is bad like that. I sometimes take anger management exercises before responding to her pings and this is the only reason why we will never take our friendship to the next level.

  39. Doxa

    November 15, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    I use abbreviations a lot, anything to make chatting easier. If you don’t like my use of abbreviations, it’s better you tell me. If you decide to give me the silent treatment, na you sabi. The day I will give very important information using abbreviations, I will see whether you won’t answer.
    I only use it for informal communication though, I know when to switch to proper ‘long hand’ and I have never made such a mistake during an exam or when drawing up an official document.
    For me the habit started long before the advent of bbm and whatsapp. I had to develop a system of taking down dictations and lectures while in the university and it worked for me. My colleagues would always come to borrow my notes for photocopying before exams because they know my notes would always be complete and up to date. Of course they always complained about the abbreviations, but it was my note and it worked for me. Upon all the complaints, they would still come for the notes the next semester. It continued this way for six semesters, my notes were the hottest thing during exam period. After our final paper, a male colleague gave me a very very big hug and said my notes are part of the reason he would graduate with a first class.
    At least Doxa’s abbreviated notes made a difference in people’s lives.

  40. Frances Okoro

    December 4, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I don’t think that abbreviations are bad but I agree that some thingsshouldnt be abbreviated jare.
    Or some letters in words shouldn’t be replaced.
    Ie, xup, buffday…just use the same hand to write the correct spelling there jor.

  41. Nma Nazzy

    December 7, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    The excessive lolling just irks me…
    Oh..and those who go back to “Hi”every ten minutes as if there’s a reset button in their brain that activates itself every 10mins..
    And of course you have this that make up new abbreviations as if you’re supposed to read their minds. Consider AYSRN. Really! I’m supposed to know that means “are you serious right now?”…

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