6

RSVP literally means "Please respond", however it seems to have turned itself into a noun in common usage:

"What's your RSVP for the party?"

"I'm attending"

Is it acceptable to refer to a person's attendance status as their RSVP ?

1
  • 1
    The short answer: JNSP! :)
    – e.James
    May 12, 2011 at 15:33

3 Answers 3

9

The conventional meaning of the abbreviation is (from New Oxford American Dictionary):

RSVP
répondez s'il vous plaît, or please reply (used at the end of invitations to request a response)

Modern usage of the term has pushed the boundaries of its use, and the Corpus of Contemporary American English includes examples of it being used as pretty much everything form a noun, a verb, an adjective, etc.

  • It said to RSVP with the enclosed card
  • Rosie O'Donnell's last-minute RSVP is throwing everyone into a tizzy
  • There's an RSVP section
  • When people RSVP with uninvited dates, I deal with that
  • I think it's the third request for your RSVP in regard to your alma mater's fundraiser

It appears as such in fiction, magazines and printed news, so you can consider it's pretty common (though not particularly formal).

3

It's not their attendance status per se, it's their response. It's acceptable, if uncommon, colloquial usage. I'm more used to seeing RSVP used informally as a verb:

"Have you RSVPed yet?"

-2

I believe that these extended uses indicate an embarrassing ignorance of the meaning of the phrase. If an invitation ended with "please respond," would you say "I please responded," or "I'm waiting for your please respond"?

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  • 2
    Welcome to EL&U. We would not say I please responded, but some people do say I RSVPed. RSVP has taken on new functions and shades of meaning, as many, many words in English have.
    – tunny
    Nov 17, 2014 at 16:31
  • I think this is a very subjective area. The literal translation of "répondez s'il vous plaît" is "respond if you please" which matches with @Lenny's comment. The original question asked whether it is acceptable to refer to a person's attendance status as their RSVP, to which the answer here does indeed answer the question - he says no and then gives logical reasons. People may say that they "RSVPed" but that does not mean it is correct usage or acceptable, it merely means they are ignorant of the correct meaning and are creating a bastardization of French in English AKA the Urban Dictionary Jan 22, 2017 at 14:16

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