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New Chart About What Americans Say Vs What They Mean Is Surprisingly Helpful

Tyler Oakley is a certified internet hero. One of the few YouTube stars who hasn’t self-sabotaged his career and reputation (to name two of his contemporaries, for example), Tyler, the Content Creator chooses to spread laugher, fun, information, and understanding with his videos. To that same end, he’s also an author and an LGBT rights activist.

If Oakley does one thing, it’s seek out and report the truth behind the facades. This week he did that with an amusing chart about the words Americans (particularly young, internet-savvy Americans) use…along with what they seem to actually mean when they say those words.

Oakley is on to something here. American English is often anything but straightforward, which creates a massive cultural disconnect between Americans and other English speakers from places like England, Scotland, New Zealand, or Australia. They think we actually mean the words we say when we say them. So silly!

Don’t they know Americans are terminally weird? This is a nation which was founded in part by Puritans. We don’t say what we mean sometimes because we don’t want to be rude. Or we’re conditioned to make people feel good. Or we’re using these words online and we can hide between the relative anonymity and distance and make people think we care a lot more about what they’re telling us than we do by using exciting and emphatic words.

Also, our great nation has a fine and long tradition of sarcasm—so there’s also the possibility that we’re so good at it that we don’t even know we’re doing it anymore.