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An abbreviation for “in my humble opinion”, this acronym is used to emphasize to the online community that a writer is expressing his or her own opinion and not attempting to pass judgement.
IMHO is used in various online and mobile communications, such as instant messaging, text messaging, social networking, or postings to groups, often when expressing an opinion on a controversial topic or debatable subject. It sometimes appears in brackets like this: <IMHO>.
While many of the original instant messaging and texting abbreviations have grown less popular in the era of suggestive typing and unlimited texting plans, IMHO continues to be a popular abbreviation because it has taken on a meaning beyond that of the original expression. If you were to start a social media post with “In my humble opinion…” it may be taken as arrogant or condescending; however, IMHO carries a softer connotation and, therefore, effectively expresses that this is simply the writer’s opinion and not something that everyone needs to agree with. What’s more, by adding a couple of extra letters, a writer can also interject a sense of humor into a post: IMNSHO, or “in my not-so humble opinion.”
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I use the abbreviation vs the full definition?
If you are writing within an environment that you feel comfortable using Internet slang, such as your personal Facebook page or a character-limited service such as text messaging or Twitter, by all means utilize the abbreviation. If you are writing on a more professional stage, such as within a business email or on your LinkedIn account, you would be better off choosing another way to express that this is your opinion, as the abbreviation may be seen as unprofessional and the full definition is often unnecessary. In most cases, simply stating your opinion without the lead-in is not only more concise, but also more effective.