With the advent of modern technology and the age of social media, communication has evolved to use abbreviations or acronyms for words often used in a text, such as ‘btw’ means ‘by the way’ and less commonly means ‘between.’ As ‘by the way,’ it refers to another point of discussion or change a topic and as ‘between’ is used to refer to the number and exclusivity of parties in a discussion.
Technology in the 21st century has greatly evolved, and with it, the ease of communication. People all over the world can now connect, work, build relationships and influence social trends. This evolution birthed the age of social media. Everyone is communicating through one or several online applications, which has spurred the creation of faster means of texting such as abbreviations or shortcuts for English words commonly used on these social platforms, which has now become known as Internet slang. Examples include ‘BTW,’ ‘FYI,’ ‘BRB,’ ‘TTYL,’ etc. These are especially helpful when trying to keep a text within character limits (often present in most social media sites.)
What is ‘btw’ and what is it used for?
- One such abbreviation is the term ‘btw,’ which means ‘by the way’ and less commonly could mean ‘between’ or ‘back to work.’ ‘Btw’ is more commonly used in all caps as ‘BTW’ and when used as ‘by the way’ is a reference to something that relates to or is relevant to the subject of discussion but is not the main topic being discussed or to change the topic of discussion to another relevant or different point, when used as ‘between’ is a reference to the number of parties involved in a discussion and the exclusivity of the discussion to said parties and when used as ‘back to work’ is a command issued to workers to return to the duties given to them, end a break and resume work activity.
- ‘Btw’ is also used to introduce a new topic or discussion that is completely different from that being currently discussed, distracting the other party from a particular topic, thing, or person, attracting attention to a particular thing, topic, or person, emphasizing urgency or speed, etc. BTW is an initialism abbreviation; this means that it is pronounced using its letters as it is spelled. However, the abbreviation isn’t commonly used in speech in its abbreviated form as that is improper and is more suited for text because of its efficiency.
Examples of the Use of ‘btw’ in Text
A: Hey, how are you?
B: I’m fine. Btw, do you have the notes from our last class?
A: Yes, I have some of them.
‘Goodbye! BTW, I’ll pick up the notes later!’ (When used for ‘By the way’)
‘This is just btw me and you’ (When used for ‘Between’)
‘…BTW, have you seen the news report yet?’ (When used for ‘By the way’)
‘Btw, I need to take your car to get to the concert. I don’t think I can afford the high price of a cab.’ (When used for ‘By the way’)
‘I think there is something going on btw Mary and Felix’ (When used for ‘Between’)
‘Btw me and you, I don’t like the food served in the Cafeteria’ (When used for ‘Between)
How do you use ‘btw’ in a sentence?
- Abbreviations are handy in the text but only when used with moderation. It is effortless to go wrong with them, especially because they are flexible in meaning and interpretation. Using them too much in a single conversation could make the text unnecessarily confusing and hard to understand. Here are some ways ‘btw’ can be used;
When Used for ‘By the way’
- It is used when texting fast and mainly shortens the number of words being used, and conveys a sense of speed or urgency. Its ease of use is what has made it so popular and commonly used. The abbreviation can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence, as shown in the examples above. A comma is usually placed after the phrase to ensure grammatical accuracy and lead into the connecting piece of information being passed.
When Used for ‘Between’
- It is also used to shorten the number of words in a text and convey a sense of speed, urgency, and confidentiality. It can be placed at the beginning or middle of a sentence and denotes that the statement it proceeds is confidential and shared only with the parties currently having the conversation.
‘Btw’ in Contrast to ‘Anyway’
- The first difference is that while ‘btw’ is majorly an acronym for ‘by the way,’ ‘anyway’ is not an acronym at all but rather a standard English word. Both can be used interchangeably even though ‘btw’ is more informal in its usage. And while ‘btw’ is used to introduce a new topic or discussion, ‘anyway’ is used to give a form of contrast to a previous statement or to steer a discussion or conversation back to a previous topic or prevent it from being changed to a new topic.
E.g., I felt quite sick, but I decided to go to the party anyway
- Anyway, it can bring back the original discussion while ‘Btw’ changes or introduces a new topic. It is evident that ‘btw’ does the exact opposite of what ‘anyway’ is used despite the similarities in wording.
There are still many more such acronyms like BRB(be right back), TTYL(talk to you later), FYI(for your information), and many more. As one of the more common ones, the use of ‘btw’ has greatly improved the speed and efficiency of online communication and has evolved to mean more than just the conventional definition. Users can play on the words to mean other things such as ‘Back to work.’ This ease of use and flexibility has helped in advance communication in this social media age.