What Is 'IMHO' and What Does It Mean?

In My Humble Opinion written on a rock next to black letters IMHO on desk


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In my humble opinion.

This common internet abbreviation is used to demonstrate humility while simultaneously making a suggestion or posing an argument in online conversation. IMHO is also spelled in all lowercase as imho. It is identical to the expression JMHO/jmho (just my humble opinion).

Example of IMHO usage: 

  • (Shane) Katerina and I are torn over which Toyota we should get: the Rav4 or the Highlander SUV.
  • (Lilian) IMHO, I would get the larger vehicle.
  • (Shane) That's what I want, but Katerina is afraid of trying to park a larger vehicle.
  • (Lilian) She'll be fine after a week of practice. And she'll be glad for the extra space for camping and road trips!

Other examples of IMHO usage:

  • IMHO, you should go with the smaller dog instead of the bigger dog. Easier to control and easier to take with you in the car!
  • I really recommend against serving pork at the barbecue. IMHO, you'll get more mileage out of serving beef burgers and chicken, especially if people of different cultures show up.
  • IMHO, cats and dogs should only be adopted if a person gets TWO; that way, they keep each other company and prevent pet depression if the owner is absent every day.

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

How to Capitalize and Punctuate Web and Texting Abbreviations: 

Capitalization is less of a concern when you're 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 flexible with most text message abbreviations. For example, the abbreviation for 'Too Long, Didn't Read' can be abbreviated as TL;DR or as TLDR. Both are acceptable, with or without punctuation. However, you should 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 for Using Web and Texting Jargon 

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 professional and then relax your communications over time than doing the inverse.