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How to 'say' Abbreviations in English

Updated: Mar 10

group of people in internet cafe sitting on swivel chairs working at computers with letters MTWTFSS on wall
find the abbreviations here

Introduction - How to say English abbreviations

Often, you will come across abbreviations in your reading.

Or, as in the picture, above, you will see the days of the week represented by single letters.

And, if you have to read aloud, you will need to know how to 'say' the complete words.

By the way, if you want to learn a way to 'read aloud' to your audience, read this blog article that explains the method.

OK, so let's start with numbers.

Numbers as abbreviations

Saying each number is quite easy. But, what about saying their order?

1 — first

2 — second

3 — third

4 — fourth

5 — fifth

6, 7 , 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 all end in ‘th’.

13—19— thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and 20 is twentieth.

Then, we start over with 21—twenty-first, 22— twenty-second, etc.

101— hundred and first, etc.

999, 353 is nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, three hundred and fifty-third.

1,000,000— one millionth.

1,000,000,000—one billionth.

They are often written as 1st, (first) 2nd, (second) 3rd, (third) 4th, (fourth) 5th, 6th, 7th etc.

2,300 can be ‘said’ as ‘two thousand three hundred’ or ‘23 hundred’.

‘K’ is often used to represent a thousand. So, 5K is 5,000. We can also say "five K".

These are very useful to know, learn, and use.

Let's turn now to the days of the week.

Days of the week

Mon - Monday

Tue - Tuesday

Wed - Wednesday

Thu - Thursday

Fri - Friday

Sat - Saturday

Sun - Sunday

Months can be abbreviations too.

Months of the year

Jan - January

Feb - February

Mar - March

Apr - April

May - May

Jun - June

Jul - July

Aug - August

Sep - September

Oct - October

Nov - November

Dec - December

Another set of abbreviations is:


Often, you will see temperatures expressed in ‘shorthand’.

Temperatures take two forms: C and F.

C is Celsius /ˈselsiəs/ and F is Fahrenheit. /ˈfærənhaɪt/.

Some countries (USA) use Fahrenheit while most others (Australia, NZ, UK) use Celsius.

The freezing point in Celsius is zero while 32 degrees is freezing in Fahrenheit.

The small circle you see beside the number is ‘said’ as ‘degree/s’.

One degree, /dɪˈɡriː/ or 26 degrees./dɪˈɡriːz/

text reads 4 degrees C above Earth's globe on fire with thermometer sticking out the top on while background

Look at the picture that shows projected global warming.

You would ‘say’ “four degrees C” or “four degrees Celsius”.

Here are some more abbreviations for measurements.

Measurements of length, weight and volume

There are two systems of measurement used in the world.

The US uses Imperial while many other countries have converted to Metric.


(30 cm is about a foot/12 inches.)

'Say' the abbreviation ‘cm’ as ‘centimeter’ (or ‘centimetre’ in US).

The pronunciation is the same: /sentɪˌmiːtə(r)/

The abbreviation ‘m’ is ‘metre’ (or meter). /miːtə(r)/

/kɪləˌmiːtə(r) or /kɪˈlɒmɪtə(r)/ (km) is the pronunciation of ‘kilometer/kilometre’.

While (kms) ‘kilometers’ or ‘kilometres’ are the spellings of the plurals.


(a kilogram of sugar)

'Say' the abbreviation ‘kg’ as /ˈkɪləˌɡræm/.

‘g’ is ‘gram’. (singular). ‘grams’ is plural.


(a litre/liter of water)

/liːtə(r)/ is the pronunciation of ‘litre/liter’. The abbreviation is ‘l’.

Let's look at some other abbreviated forms used in English.

Other abbreviations

Email addresses

The main one of interest here is the @ sign. It is said "at".

So, 'say' the email address "Michael @ hotmail .com" (the spaces are intentional) as:

"Michael at hotmail dot com".

URLs / Websites

www . apexenglishtutoring . com . au (again spaces are intentional) is said as "w-w-w dot apexenglishtutoring dot com dot a-u."

If you see this sign/character '/' you 'say' it as "slash" or "forward slash" while '\' is "backslash".

Latin abbreviations

In English there are many Latin abbreviations.

Here are some you will see often in your reading.

'etc' - is 'said' as "et cetera". It means 'and so on'.

'i.e' - means 'that is'. Say "i-e" or 'that is'.

'e.g.' - means 'for example', so say 'for example'; sometimes it's said as "e-g".

'et al' - often used in academic writing, referring to many authors of a source, it means 'and others'.

Say as "et al".


In this article, I have explained a collection of English abbreviations.

And I have taught you how to 'say' them.

 I have explained that they are 'said' in full when reading 'out loud'.

They are useful to learn to improve your spoken English.

Further Reading

To learn more about how to improve your spoken English, I urge you to read this article.

© Apex English Tutoring July 2022 - Updated January 2024

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About Me

Hello and welcome!

My name is Michael Finemore and I am the owner-operator of Apex English Tutoring.

As an experienced English Teacher, I'm passionate about helping people turn their 'poor' English into great English, with easy and effective ways to practice.

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