What Does ‘IIRC’ Mean?

Five millenials on their phones

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IIRC (If I recall correctly) is used when answering a question in online chat or email, or when you want to make a pointed suggestion while still being unsure of yourself.

Example 1 of 'IIRC' Usage

  • Slovanna: How can Hillary Clinton win the popular vote, but lose the election? What the heck is this electoral college thing? It seems stupid to me.
  • Tuan: IIRC, the electoral college was designed as a way to prevent smaller states and smaller population centers from getting pushed around by large voting centers like New York state or Illinois.
  • Slovanna: Well, maybe that made sense years ago, but it sure doesn't make sense today.

Example 2 of 'IIRC' Usage

  • First user: Someone told me that chocolate is poisonous to dogs! Is this true?
  • Second user: That's what the vet told me when we brought Sasha in for her teeth cleaning. IIRC, the toxin in chocolate is phenylalanine, which is some kind of amino acid that reacts badly to dogs and cats.
  • First user: OMG, Michael gives our dog bits of his chocolate bars! I will tell him to stop doing that immediately!

Other Examples of 'IIRC' Usage

  • IIRC, you need to prime AND choke before you try starting the leaf blower.
  • IIRC, the wrench is on the shelf in the shed, not the garage.
  • Wikileaks is about government whistleblowers, iirc.
  • IIRC, you can't submit your taxes online without a special code.
  • Ebola only reached two cities in the USA, IIRC
  • IIRC, nearly half of soccer world championships are decided by who has fewer penalties.
  • IIRC, you need to bring three pieces of ID to before they'll let you in.
  • I'm not sure about cornmeal for dogs. IIRC, there was a study that shows corn cannot be digested by canines.
  • IIRC, that's the same sheriff from that NRA video on Youtube.

The IIRC expression, like many cultural curiosities of the Internet, is a part of modern English communication.

The History and Origin of the IIRC Acronym

While there is no verifiable origin of the IIRC acronym, it is believed by some that the expression originated as far back as Telnet conversations of the early 1990s. Telnet was a predecessor to the World Wide Web, where academic users in the 1970s and 1980s could text chat using mainframes.

How to Capitalize and Punctuate Web and Texting Abbreviations 

Capitalization is a non-concern  when using text message abbreviations and chat jargon, you are welcome to use all uppercase (e.g. ROFL) or all lowercase (e.g. rofl), and the meaning is identical. Avoid typing entire sentences in uppercase, though, as that means shouting in online speak.

Proper punctuation is similarly a non-concern — For example, the abbreviation for 'Too Long, Didn't Read' can be abbreviated as TL;DR or as TLDR. Both are an acceptable format, with or without punctuation.

Never use periods (dots) between your jargon letters — It would defeat the purpose of speeding up thumb typing. For example, ROFL would never be spelled R.O.F.L., and TTYL would never be spelled T.T.Y.L. 

Recommended Etiquette

Knowing when to use jargon in your messaging is about knowing who your audience is, knowing if the context is informal or professional, and then using good judgment. If you know the people well, and it is a personal and informal communication, then absolutely use abbreviation jargon. On the flip side, if you are just starting a friendship or professional relationship with the other person, then it is a good idea to avoid abbreviations until you have developed a relationship rapport.

If the messaging is in a professional context with someone at work, or with a customer or vendor outside your company, then avoid abbreviations altogether. Using full word spellings shows professionalism and courtesy. It is much easier to err on the side of being too wordy.