RSVP – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you seen the term ‘RSVP’ appear anywhere on social media and need to know what the term means? The term ‘RSVP’ is a common request that appears on invitations, and many people still don’t know that the term comes from French. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this term.

Meaning

The term ‘RSVP’ is a common text-based abbreviation that has recently started being used on social media, though it predates social media use by several hundred years.

The term ‘RSVP’ is derived from the French sentence “répondez s’il vous plaît” and it literally means that someone should “please respond”.

‘RSVP’ is a common sight on invitations and events, where the term is used to say that people should respond if they are going to be part of the list of guests.

The term is very rarely written out in full, and the French abbreviation has become the most common way to say it even in the English language.

When people use the term ‘RSVP’ anywhere on the internet, it usually refers to an event or livestream where people have to confirm their presence to be on the list of guests or attendees.

Rarely, the term is used within direct conversation to ask someone to respond to something.

The term ‘RSVP’ is often used on its own, with the context assumed as being understood by everyone who sees it or receives the invitation. Often times, however, people don’t and have the need to look it up first.

Example Usage

“If you want anyone to show up to your wedding so that you can get a proper head count of how many people will be there, then you should at the very least add RSVP to your invitations.”

“My grandmother used to put RSVP on all her invitations or people would just show up without letting anyone know. It’s kind of like leaving an open event with your address up on Facebook.”

“RSVP is one of the most important things that you should put on your event, otherwise you just risk being underprepared and not having enough snacks for everyone who comes to the party.”

“If you forget to add RSVP, then you might end up with a thousand people crashing your party. It’s important, trust me on this.”

Origin

The term ‘RSVP’ was first used as an abbreviation of the French translation that means “respond if you please” in literal terms, or just “please respond”.

‘RSVP’ is a common sight on modern invitations, even though the term has been in popular use for at least several hundred years.

The term ‘RSVP’ is commonly used in the English language, even though the original term itself is derived from French.

Usually, the term ‘RSVP’ is used on its own.

Since the term existed long before the beginning of modern social media platforms, the term “RSVP’ was common on social media websites like TikTok since their start – 2016 in the case of specifically TikTok.

The term can sometimes be used to apply to virtual events, where the term is used to ask the same thing from future participants: please respond to confirm whether or not you will be attending the event, whether it is virtual or not.

Phrases Similar to RSVP

  • Please Respond

Phrases Opposite to RSVP

  • N/a

What is the Correct Saying?

  • RSVP

Ways People May Say RSVP Incorrectly

There are several ways in which the term RSVP can be used in the wrong way.

If someone does not understand the context or the meaning of the term, then they could tag the term ‘RSVP’ to an invitation or event that does not need it (e.g. where the attendance rate is already clear and confirmation would be unnecessary).

The term written out in the original French is almost never necessary, and the abbreviation will suffice even in English.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase RSVP

The right way to use the term ‘RSVP’ is to use it anywhere a response is necessary beforehand from any people who might like to attend the event.

The term ‘RSVP’ is often used on its own, with the writer assuming that the readers (already) know what it means with no explanation necessary.

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