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In the context of foreign language grammar study, "sb." and "sth." serve as substitutions for "somebody" and "something", essentially telling readers that a person or thing can be placed in that part of the sentence.

  • Are there standard or common abbreviations in this similar form which mean "somewhere" or "sometime"?
  • Are there any other abbreviations belonging to this set of some- words?
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closed as not constructive by aedia λ, simchona, waiwai933 May 31 '12 at 0:26

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Those are completely opaque to native speakers, who are not used to sb. and sth. meaning what you seem to think they do. In grammars that I’m familiar with, for example, sb. means substantive. Please don’t use abbreviations. – tchrist Mar 21 '13 at 23:27
@tchrist: I disagree. I think if I saw "sb." in an example like "I gave the ball to sb.", it wouldn't take much thinking to figure out that it means "somebody", and I would never in a million years guess that it was trying to be "substantive"; the latter is just not a word I'd ever abbreviate. – Marthaª Mar 22 '13 at 0:44
@Marthaª The OED2 abbreviation list did indeed use “sb.” that way, and it is what I am used to. The OED3 abbreviation list changed all those “sb.” to “n.” instead. – tchrist Mar 22 '13 at 1:45

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