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ESL Medium Quiz

Important Letters - Everyday Abbreviations

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “Important Letters” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Everyday Abbreviations”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

Important letters are those used in everyday abbreviations, such as VIP and BBC.

You may have thought, from the title of this quiz, that it was about major messages that might be sent to you through the post. But here, 'important letters' could also be the initial letters of the names of organisations etc. ~ that most English people would use as a short version in everyday conversation.

How many of these every day abbreviations will you be able to recognise or work out, we wonder?

  1. If you see an official notice, or some graffiti, with four letters such as '[X]UFC', what is this likely to be about?
    ... such as Manchester United ( ' MUFC ' ).
  2. Pick the best answer to complete the gap/s in clear, accurate and sensible English.
    'Britain has done more (and better) trade with her neighbouring nations since she became a member of the ... ... '
    ' ... European Union'.
    In the languages of some other member states within this organisation, the letters appear as 'UE', but in English they appear as shown in Answer 4.
    There's little point in thinking of 'Britain as a member of the UK' since Great Britain and the UK are virtually the same thing. (Not to be confused with 'the British Isles', which would include the Isle of Man and the southern majority of the island of Ireland!)
  3. One of the biggest national organisations is the TUC, which represents the interests of working people across a wide variety of jobs. What do the initials stand for?
    This is the TUC which has an annual national meeting, comparable for scale with the major political parties' conferences.
  4. Someone who has given important and valuable service to the country might be awarded the OBE : what do these initials stand for, here?
    Answer 2 is the only appropriate one here.
  5. Pick the best answer to complete the gap/s in clear, accurate and sensible English.
    If you see a PC walking and talking in the street, what does this abbreviation most likely stand for?
    These are all possible Answers for 'PC', but only No.3 makes any sense!
  6. Pick the best answer to complete the gap/s in clear, accurate and sensible English.
    'There are so many phone companies in Britain now, but the one that used to be part of the Post Office is now called ... ... .'
    ' ... British Telecommunications plc', to give it its full title.
  7. Pick the best answer to complete the gap/s in clear, accurate and sensible English.
    If swimmers or boaters need to be rescued from a dangerous situation in the waters around the British Isles, the organisation that will come out to help them is the ...
    This is the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
    The others offered here are: the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Answer 1), the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (3) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (4) ... each a very worthy organisation. From this you may fairly confidently infer that an organisation whose initials begin 'RS ...' will be a Royal Society, and an 'NS...' will be a national group of some sort. (The RNLI is both Royal and National, of course.)
  8. If you are coming to the UK from abroad, you will need to make sure that any 'mains' electrical equipment you bring will work all right with our plugs and supply. The pins are rectangular, and our electricity comes at 240 volts AC. What does the 'AC' stand for here?
    This means that the current is reversed (at a rate of 50 cycles per second) rather than being supplied 'direct'.
  9. Meanwhile you go one evening to a public building, where a number of other meetings are being held in different rooms. One of the rooms is signposted, fairly discreetly, 'AA meeting'. What would that meeting be about?
    This valuable organisation has meetings in most towns, since (sadly) there seems to be a growing need for it.
    As far as we know, there is no regular 'AA' use along the lines of Answer 1, and the car drivers' club does not often hold local meetings. Answer 4 was a complete invention!
  10. At a rather humbler level, many more British people achieve GCSE qualifications in their mid-teenage years. What do these initials stand for?
    In this case the first Answer was right.

Author: Ian Miles

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