Student > Basic Communications


"Hi", "Hello", "Good Morning", "How are you?" and "How are you doing?" are the most common things to say when you see someone you know. 

When people say "How are you?" or "How are you doing?" to you, you can reply "Good" or "I'm fine". Or you can simply ask back "How are you?" People do not always expect an answer for these. 

It sounds much better if you can add the other person's first name in there. "Good morning, Jim" sounds very personal and close. It's very powerful to use first names in your conversation. You will notice that American use the first name of the listener very often.

But for people who are high up, it may not be appropriate for you to use their firstn names. To be on the safe side, you can start by being conservative. For example, you can say "Good morning, Dr. Smith" instead of "Good morning, John" when you see Prof. John Smith. Sometimes the other person may say "Just call me John" which means from then on you can simply call him by  first name. 

The most informal way of saying hello is "What's up?" It's very popular among young Americans. The easiest answer is "Not much." Again a lot of times "What's up" may not really demand an answer.

Another interesting part of American names is nick names. For many first names, there are some standard nick names (see table below for examples. F=Female. M=Male.). However, it's up to each person to decide whether they want to be called by a nick name. Sometimes, if you are not sure, you can ask "Do you go by Robert, or Bob, or else?" Accasionally, people go by their middle names.
First name Nick name
Alexander (M) Alex, Alexis
Alexandria (F) Alex
Benjamin (F) Ben
Christopher (M) Chris
Christina (F) Chris
Cynthia (F) Cindy
David (M) Dave
Deborah (F) Debbie, Deb
Donald (M) Don
Elizabeth (F) Beth, Betty, Liz, Lisa, Liza
Henry (M) Hal
James (M) Jim
Jeffrey (M) Jeff
John (M) Jack
Katherine (F) Kathy, Katie
Lawrence (M) Larry
Matthew (M) Matt
Michael (M) Mike
Patricia (F) Pat
Patrick (M) Pat
Raymond (M) Ray
Robert (M) Bob, Rob
Samuel (M) Sam
Stephen (M) Steve
Susan (F) Sue
Thomas (M) Tom
Timothy (M) Tim
Victoria (F) Vicki
William (M) Bill, Billy, Will


Below is a list of common acronyms in e-mails:
BRB Be right back
BTW By the way
CUL See you later
F2F Face to face
FWIW For what it's worth
FYA For your amusement
FYI For your information
GD&R Grinning, ducking, and rumming
GMTA Great minds think alike
HHOK Ha Ha only kidding
IMHO In my humble opinion
IOW In other ways
LOL Laughing out loud
OBTW Oh, by the way
OIC Oh, I see
ROFL Rolling on the floor laughing
SO Significant other (spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend)
TIA Thanks in advance
WB Welcome back
WRT With respect to
WTG Way to go

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