To Be Determined (TBD)

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Definition of To Be Determined (TBD)

To Be Determined (TBD) refers to a matter that is yet unknown or something that has not been decided yet, but will be known in the future.

This term is often used to describe the current context of a particular matter. It is used in a different situation and it is not limited to business environments.

When you say “to be determined,” it just indicates that there’s still more research to be done about a certain matter before a final conclusion can be presented.

In business meetings, the term might refer to the current status of a certain agenda. If there was a pending situation or task that need to be addressed and a person wants to ask and update regarding the matter, but there’s still no result or final conclusion to be presented at the moment, the answer “it is yet to be determined” can be provided.

The term is also employed in digital conversations or chat rooms, even in the most common platforms such as corporate e-mails and messaging apps.

To Be Determined in a Sentence (Examples):

  • John’s future as the senior manager of ABC Company is yet to be determined.
  • The doctors said the times of death had yet to be determined.
  • Whether Jennifer’s cousin will come at the party is yet to be determined.
  • The amount of money at stake in a robbery is yet to be determined.
  • A replacement of the employee who took unplanned leave is yet to be determined.
  • The case is considered a federal issue to be determined in federal court.
  • The extent of the second phase has yet to be determined.
  • The final date for the opening of the new restaurant is yet to be determined.
  • William said their availability would have to be determined through litigation.
  • Whether he remains a boxing player after the accident happened, has yet to be determined.
  • Whether the trend has been reversed has yet to be determined.
  • The exact path of the tunnels is to be determined in the coming months.

More Examples

Illustration 1

Ms. Sanchez is working as an accountant for ABC Accounting Firm. She currently holds the position of Senior Accounting Supervisor which makes her responsible for managing big team of accountants assigned to different accounts with clients from different industries.

They handle bookkeeping, compliance and other regulatory requirements for their clients. Each Monday, she reviews the current accounts with her team to get updates and responses about how the operations are going.

Each team member would then provide a list with each account and provide a brief status update of each.

When Ms. Sanchez asks specific questions, it has been the team’s tradition to say or note “TBD’ for matters with unclear, unknown or not yet finished, status.

And it is to everyone’s understanding that “TBD” means “to be determined”, which further means that this matter is currently ongoing, that the team is still working on it and get things done for TBD to become a specific answer.

To Be Announced (TBA) and To be Confirmed (TBC) versus To Be Determined (TBD)

These placeholder terms and other variations are used very broadly in event planning to indicate that although something is scheduled or expected to happen, a particular aspect of that remains to be arranged or confirmed. But these terms have their different meanings and should not be treated synonymously. 

The following phrases are similar, but can be used for different levels of indeterminacy.

  • To be announced (TBA) or To be declared (TBD) – These refers to details that are already determined but are not yet ready to be announced. 

To be announced in a sentence:

  • The winner of the singing contest is to be announced in a few days.
  • Joanna’s promotion is yet to be announced later.
  • The deal is expected to be announced as soon as Tuesday.
  • The sales have tentatively been scheduled to be announced on Monday.
  • Results of the domestic swap are expected to be announced next month.
  • The results of two or more available seat are yet to be announced.
  • To be confirmed (TBC)- These refers to details that are already determined and announced, but are still subject to change prior to being finalized.

To be confirmed in a sentence:

  • The election date has yet to be confirmed by the parliament.
  • Plans to record some new music are yet to be confirmed.
  • For another, the study has yet to be confirmed by other researchers.
  • There has been rumour of a new hotel yet to be confirmed.
  • The continued existence of some species has yet to be confirmed either way.
  • Food industry representatives also said the study findings had yet to be confirmed.
  • To be determined (TBD) or To be decided (TBD) – These refers to details that are not yet determined. For example, the location of a given event has not been decided. See example above.

Other similar phrases sometimes used to express the same sense, and using the similar abbreviations, include, “to be arranged”, “to be ascertained”, “to be adjudicated”, “to be decided”, “to be declared,” and “to be done”.

Real situations:

  • Often used to indicate to the public that a vacant role in a lineup of musicians, speaker, or other performers remains to be filled.
  • These placeholder terms are used also to indicate that a creative work, such as film or album, is upcoming but the exact date of release is not yet know. 
  • The terms are also often used in sports events and schedules, particularly where one team has locked in a position in a playoff schedule, but its opponent cannot yet be determined because several teams may qualify for the spot depending on their remaining wins or losses for the season, or because other teams have not yet competed in playoff games that will determine who will face the locked-in team.
  • In vacant government and business positions, these placeholder terms may be used to indicate that an available organization position is expected to be filled, or in other words, a particular individual will be employed in an as-yet-uncreated position.

Commonly Used Abbreviations or What We Know as Business Slang Terms

TBD is typically used in work emails together with other common abbreviations in English language.

Here are some of the most commonly used abbreviations in business and real life:

TBD

“To Be Determined/ Decided/ Defined”

This is used when an information, let’s say the venue or date of an event is still unknown.

So when you receive an email notification about a scheduled meeting saying that the dinner will be “in a restaurant – TBD”; it only means that they haven’t decided yet where to go.

ASAP

“As Soon As Possible”

It indicates a task or request that doesn’t have a specific deadline, but has to be done immediately and without further delay.

This only means if your supervisor sends a short email saying “I need the report ASAP”, your supervisor probably means “NOW”.

FYI

“For Your Information”

This abbreviation is used if you wish to emphasize that the information that follows is either a reminder or a useful piece of data that need to be communicated. It doesn’t necessarily mean that an action is required to be taken.

For example, “FYI our sales have exceed this year’s forecast and increased by 78% this quarter as compared to the same quarter last year.” No action is really required to be taken, aside perhaps from maybe giving congratulations to the Sales Department.

RSVP

This is commonly seen and used in event or meeting invitations. This abbreviation actually comes from the French expression “Répondez s’il vous plaît”, which is just a very polite way of saying “Please respond”.

Say you get an email saying “RSVP until Monday”, make sure you send a reply before the indicated deadline, to confirm your attendance or not.

Sending this message indicates that the host of the event needs to know the approximate number of present guests in order to organize everything accordingly.

2MI

“Too Much Information”

2MI is also known as the information explosion, infobesity, and information anxiety. This is commonly used as an expression indicating that someone has revealed information that is too personal, making the listener or reader uncomfortable. 

This expression is also used when you want to tell someone that what they have said should be kept private or is embarrassing. For instance, a lady at the checkout line at the mall tells everyone in line about how she had blood in her urine because of her urinary tract information.  

This principle can apply also in business. 2MI can also easily backfire on you when you’re communicating in business. It’s all too easy for a prospective customer or client to stop reading an email that has too much unnecessary. Or, in your construction of a sentence, it is difficult to follow because the sentences just keep running on, you risk the chance of your message being ignored or deleted. 

RUOK

“Are You Okay?”

This abbreviation is used with the meaning “Are You OK,” which is an interrogative phrase, typically used as a genuine inquiry as to someone’s well-being.

If someone from you work has been absent for a long period of time, you can ask that person by saying RUOK? This has been used by many to know whether a certain person is okay or not.

AEAP

“As Early As Possible”

This should be distinguished from ASAP. As soon as possible indicates a near future relative from now, while as early as possible is relative to a time period such as early that day or early that month or early that year. 

“Soon” means not long from now.

“Early” means towards the beginning of a period of time.

ATTN

“Attention”

Attention is the behavioral and cognitive process of selectively concentrating on a discrete aspect of information, whether considered subjective or objective, while ignoring other perceivable information. In simple language, this is refers to notice taken of someone or something. 

An example is you put “ATTN” in your email to direct the letter to specific person in the company. Using this abbreviation is acceptable in business and email etiquette.

Illustrative Example:

NOTICE OF ANNUAL STOCKHOLDER’S MEETING
ATTN:Robert Dave Martinez
President & Chief Executive Officer
ABC and XYZ Corporation

AFC or AFK

“Away from Computer” of “Away from Keyboard”

These terms are used when a person will leave the computer and does not do anything. This is often used in online games when a player is completely stationary and does not respond to any messages. This is also used to indicate some pending situation or current situation.

These terms are used as well in business. The computer of an employee is ON but that employee is currently away from it. “AFC” of “AFK” can also indicate that employees are currently unavailable and will respond to any of the messages when back online.

AWOL

“Absent Without Leave” or “Away Without Leave”

This is used to indicate that someone took an unauthorized time off from work, school, or other duties. For an employee or a person to avoid being tagged as AWOL, that person must secure first permission before taking absence or leave. Other terms people might use include: ‘AWOL’ or absent without leave or absent without permission.

Example:

  • Many young soldiers desert or go AWOL after mistreatment and bullying by their superiors or colleagues.
  • The guitarist went AWOL in the middle of the recording.
  • Experts estimate that most infantry battalions have two or three soldiers AWOL at any one time.
  • His real father had gone AWOL about 17 years earlier, and after that his mother had remarried.

KUTGW

“Keep Up the Good Work”

KUTGW or the phrase keep up the good work is used to encourage a person to continue doing the good things they are doing now. So if you this abbreviation, be happy because that person is commending you for a job well done.

Make sure to remember this so you may know when your boss or client says this to you.