RSVP = ??

What does R.S.V.P. stand for? I looked in my dictionary but all it says is “please reply”. I know what it means but just wondering what it stands for and how/where it originated.

It’s French: Répondez s’il vous plait, for send an answer if you please.

According to my Webster’s New World Dictionary, it is French for repondez s’il vous plait. Or, like you said, please reply.

And, since it is actually a sentence (abbreviated) it is more properly written “R.s.v.p.” instead of “R.S.V.P.” because we don’t Capitalize Every Word In A Sentence. :slight_smile:

Actually, it is properly written RSVP, all caps with no periods.

According to Miss Manners, “the fastidious render [it] as R.s.v.p.” (Miss Manners’ Basic Training: Communication, pg. 162). Which etiquette maven do you cite, Chef? Maybe we’ll have to move this over to “Great Debates” – Amy Vanderbilt vs. Miss Manners.


Full of 'satiable curtiosity

According to Mammy Yokum, (Li’l Abner’s mom)
RSVP means “roast skunk very probable.”

It means that you should tell them if you want to come or not.

Most be an old dictionary you got.
RSVP abbreviation
[F repondez s’il vous plait] please reply

©1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Thank you, Jess, the delightful Miss Manners was the source for my post as well. I consider her to ultimate arbiter of etiquette, and a hoot to read as well. :slight_smile:

Nickrz – X L N!

I take back everything wicked I ever said about you, anyone so facile in quoting Mammy Yokum cain’t be all bad.

backing down

Okay, J&J, I admit I don’t have a cite – just a preprinted invitation to a wedding that did it the way I indicated. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions without checking my reference library; however, in light of the fact that it’s an acronym, it still seems to me that it SHOULD be all caps…shrug but I would never dispute the revered Miss Manners (I’m not being sarcastic).

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

Wait, Chef Troy! Don’t back down when you’re right!

Acronyms (using the first letter of each word in a phrase to stand for the phrase itself) traditionally use all caps. For instance, the acronym for “random access memory” is RAM, which uses all caps, however if the phrase is used in its entirety, you never see it capitalized like this:

If you cannot run Internet Explorer, it is probably because you have insufficient Random Access Memory.

The words themselves are lowercase, not being proper nouns, but when turned into an acronym, they become uppercase. This helps us distinguish between acronyms (RAM) and sheep (ram).

Moreover, there is no guarantee that the phrase “respondez s’il vous plait” would necessarily come at the beginning of a sentence. Regardez:

Mon mari et moi vous invitent à une partie à notre maison le samedi prochain, et nous apprécierions savoir si vous serez présents, ainsi respondez s’il vous plait.

Apologies for my probably atrocious French, but you can see that it wouldn’t ALWAYS be R.s.v.p.

Miss Manners can kiss my English-degreed butt.

Hooray! Somebody finally stood up for me around here! (see the thread on Cryptograms for an example of a member cravenly leaving me in the lurch – thanks for nothing, RoboDude.)

You’re right, Eris…I SHOULDN’T back down. Miss Manners may be an authority on etiquette (e.g., why to respond to an RSVP), but that doesn’t make her an expert on grammar.

There are ample instances of acronymic usage that bear us out: AWOL, for example, or the original SCUBA (which has now been de-acronymified and can be written in lowercase letters).

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

Oh, by the way, since acronyms are usually pronounced as if they were regular words, I’d like to offer the pronunciation used in my family: “Riz-vip.” It takes half as much time to say as the component letters and rhymes with “hip” to boot…

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

Actually, Miss M. said that the “fastidious” would use R.s.v.p., she didn’t come out and say that RSVP was INCORRECT. Miss Manners doesn’t really seem to care how you spell it – she just wants you to DO it. Reply, I mean.


Full of 'satiable curtiosity

OK – I checked all of my etiquette books to get the final (maybe) word. Miss Manners I already reported on. Alex J. Packer, Ph.D., Grace Fox, Marjabelle Young Stewart and Martha A. Woodham came up with RSVP and Amy Vanderbilt and Peg Bracken (both circa 1950ish) used R.S.V.P. And yes, I have an unhealthy lech for etiquette books.


Full of 'satiable curtiosity

I’ve always thought it meant ‘Reply Soon Via Post’ as I rarely encounter it outside of letters.