Most patterns have a glossary at the beginning of the pattern where they will explain what the abbreviations mean. Most patterns designers write in standard abbreviations. Every once in a while you’ll come across something that’s odd, the designer’s own shorthand. That doesn’t happen too often. Look first to the glossary, if any, for clarification or explanation of a stitch pattern.
Another thing that might help is to go into the free pattern sites of some of the yarn companies like Lion brand yarn or Red Heart. They rate their patterns according to ability: beginner, advanced beginner, intermediate, and advanced. They figure you should know certain techniques in each of those stages, and they gear their patterns toward that. If you don’t know how to do something, check out KH’s tutorial section at the top of the page, look for a tutorial on Youtube, or ask here. I learned how to be a better knitter by tackling something a little bit harder each time. Some patterns were too hard and I had to set them aside. Don’t be afraid to do that. I tackled them again a year or so later only to find that I could do them easily. My skills had improved since then.