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Writing Course Lesson Three

In this lesson, we will cover some of the common acronyms and e-terms used in today’s ever-changing international business context. With the growing use of email and instant messaging, we are all looking for shortcuts to speed up our communication.

Using acronyms help us communicate faster. These are shortened “words” formed from the first letter of other words. For example,  if you are a mixed martial arts fan you know what MMA stands for. Or if you are a football (soccer) fan you know that FC means Football Club. Always keep your reader in mind. Be careful not to overuse acronyms

We will examine the definition of some of the common e-terms that we have been using to write emails. If you use email frequently, you should know what Cc. and Bcc. mean.

We’ll also look at functional language, expressions used for a particular purpose, such as expressing best wishes or giving a compliment. The more fluent you are English the more proficient you are in saying exactly what you mean in different ways.

Task 1

Here is a list of commonly-used acronyms. Match the acronym with its meaning. Then check your answer. Print out this list and keep it next to your computer. Use acronyms when appropriate in your email writing.


1. AR a. thanks in advance
2. BTW b. regards
3. F2F c. no later than
4. FAQ d. great minds think alike
5. FYEO e. in other words
6. FYI f. please
7. GMTA g. thanks
8. IOW h. face to face
9. LMK i. action required
10. NLT j. for your information
11. PLS k. frequently asked questions
12. RGDS l. with regards to
13. THX m. for your eyes only
14. TIA n. by the way
15. WRT o. let me know


1. i, 2. n., 3. h, 4. k, 5. m, 6. j, 7. d, 8. e, 9. k, 10. c, 11. f, 12. b, 13. g, 14. a, 15. l

Task 2

Here are some e-terms, associated with email writing, that you should know. Match the e-term with its meaning. Then check your answer.


1. Cc  g a.  When an email does reach its intended recipient for one reason or another
2. Forward  j b. the conventional way of sending mail
3. Bcc  f c. the Internet network in which information is stored
4. Inbox k d. receive information from the Internet, such as a pdf.
5. spam h e. stands for “Portable document format.” Used to send documents.
6. virus o f. stands for “blind carbon copy.” Used to hide from the main recipient other people receiving an email.
7. folder l g. stands for “carbon copy.” Used for other recipients who get your email.
8. snail mail b h. junk mail or unsolicited email messages
9. attachment n i. a printed copy of a document
10. cloud  c j. send a copy of an email to a new reader
11. bounce  a k. the main folder for your email messages
12. download d l. a place to store your electronic files
13. PDF e m. allows access to the Internet if your computer has a wireless connection
14. hard copy  i n. an electronic file, such as a pdf, that you can add to your email.
15. Wi-Fi m o. malicious scripts, sometimes found in infected email attachments, that can damage your computer


1. g , 2. j, 3. f , 4. k, 5. h, 6. o, 7. l, 8. b, 9. n, 10. c, 11. a, 12. d, 13. e, 14. i, 15. m

Task 3

Language functions are used to express a particular purpose. Here are some language functions that are used frequently in business communication.

Choose the best expression for each situation. Then check your answer and find out other ways of saying the same thing. Practise using these expressions in your email writing.

1. A colleague is launching a new web site. Send best wishes to the person.
a) Good to see.
b) We wish you all the best in your new venture.
c) We appreciate what you did for him.

2. You want to compliment an employee.
a) I was looking forward to seeing you.
b) The news is very encouraging.
c) The work you did is most impressive.

3. You would like your business partner to do something.
a) I would greatly appreciate your feedback.
b) I’m not absolutely sure.
c) May I correct you there.

4. A colleague asks for your opinion.
a) I owe you an apology.
b) This proves my point.
c) I’m absolutely certain.

5. You wish to challenge a client’s comment.
a) If you have no objection, we can meet on Monday morning.
b) We would like to make it perfectly clear that this was never our intention.
c) Thanks, but I don’t think that will be necessary.

6. You need to take sides on an issue.
a) We are in full agreement with your conclusions.
b) I would advise you not to go ahead.
c) We would be grateful if you responded immediately.

7. A client asks your company to commit to do something
a) Thank you. That was very helpful.
b) We would be very interested to hear from you.
c) We can assure you that it will be done today.

8. A colleague asks you to make a suggestion.
a) That won’t work.
b) We would like to recommend our accountant.
c) We are happy to accept your proposal.

9. You need to warn someone about something
a) We feel that you should know of the risk that is involved.
b) We would like to congratulate you on your appointment.
c) Another time perhaps.

10. Your company offers to do something
a) Thank you. We are very pleased to be here.
b) We wish you every success.
c) We would be happy to do that.


1.  b
Other ways to express best wishes:
– We wish you every success
– I trust everything will go well.

2. c
Other ways to express compliments:
– We would like to congratulate you.
– We compliment on the high quality of your work.

3. a
Other ways to express what you would like to happen
– We would greatly appreciate if you would respond to us by Friday.
– That would be super.

4. c
Other ways to express an opinion.
– I am quite sure that.
– I know for a fact that that proposal has been accepted.

5. b
Other ways to challenge something.
– We are obliged to correct your statement.
– We must point out that is not the case.

6. a
Other ways to take sides.
– I disagree.
– That won’t work.

7. c
Other ways to commit yourself to do something
– Definitely
– It will be done in 24 hours.

8. b
Other ways to make a suggestion.
– Have you thought about using this software?
– Have you considered getting a second opinion?

9. a
Other ways to warn someone.
– I wouldn’t if I were you.
– You better make sure that the arrangements are clear.

10. c
Other ways to offer to do something.
– May I help?
– I’d be happy to do that.

Adapted from “The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment.” 2011.