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How common is the usage of 'smth' in American English as an abbreviation of 'something'?

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Typical, no; but I do recognize "smth" as "something". It is more like Twitter code than American English. –  GEdgar Jan 15 '12 at 14:44
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Do you have in examples in context so that we can tell what you're talking about (it's not obvious)? –  Mitch Jan 15 '12 at 16:17
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for instance : 'Do smth about his behavior!' –  lukas Jan 15 '12 at 17:00
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@lukas I would not recognize your example. It looks erroneous to me. –  tchrist Jan 15 '12 at 17:38
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I am wondering, why so many people have given me negative points? –  lukas Jan 15 '12 at 20:19

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Neither smth nor sth is a standard abbreviation in American English.

The first looks like Smith, which there’s surely no reason to abbreviate. Smithying, perhaps. The second looks like south, the direction. It also reminds me of my friend Seth, or perhaps in the right context the Sith from Star Wars.

So while I’m sure it means something, I can’t quite say what, and it’s a burden, even an imposition, on your readers to make them try to do so. I strongly advise against using sth to mean anything at all. Just type the thing out that you actually mean.


Nthr smth nr sth z a stndrd abrvshn n Amrcn Nglsh.

Th 1st lks lk Smth, whch thr’s shrly no rsn 2 abrvt. Smthyng, prhps. Th 2nd lks lk sth, th drcshn. It also rmndz me v my frnd Sth, o prhps n th rt cntxt th Sth frm Str Wrz.

So whl I’m shr it mnz smthng, I cn’t qt sy wht, & itz a brdn, evn an unknd impsshn, on yr rdrz 2 mk thm try 2 do so. I strngly advs agnst usng sth 2 mn anythng @ al. Jst typ th thng owt tht U actly mn.

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+1, for the abrvted version.:D –  ApprenticeHacker Jan 15 '12 at 16:11
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Same goes for UK English: it looks really strange to see sth, smth and smby in normal text when everything else is written in full. It seems to be most common from Indian writers. –  Hugo Jan 15 '12 at 16:59
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In technical semantic descriptions, something is often abbreviated to s.t, and someone to s.o. For instance, one might gloss the Ojibwe verb miijgaazod as 'to be given s.t." –  John Lawler Jan 15 '12 at 21:03
    
@Hugo I have a little program that does that. Send me mail if you’d like a copy. –  tchrist Feb 23 '12 at 2:23

In Taiwan, to teach verbs, smth and smb are used to shorten the explanation or definition. It's quite common here.

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+1 Please cite a reputable source that confirms your answer. –  MετάEd Oct 3 '12 at 6:07

Smth is not used to my knowledge as a standard abbreviation, but I have seen sb for ‘somebody’ and sth for ‘something’ in idiom dictionaries such as the Oxford Idioms Dictionary and McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms.

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Short and to the point, thank you. I don't see why ELU shouldn't enthusiastically adopt sth/sb along with OP and TL;DR. These four "less than universal" abbreviations are exceptionally useful for posters here, and I doubt there are even half-a-dozen others remotely in the same league. I'm unfamiliar with at least half the standard elu abbreviations, and that has never bothered me. But these two are in constant use. –  FumbleFingers Feb 22 '12 at 22:02

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