Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Sep 18 19:25:55 UTC 2011

There are two threads in the more recent ADS archives with "Really?" as the subject line. But neither addresses the expression "Really?" meaning something like, "Why in the world?" and used to point out something that defies common sense.

Today, my sister wrote on my Facebook wall:

 "downtown yesterday - people on corner with obama looking like hitler posters. really?!"

This is the same format I recognize from one other person that went to her high school (here in the Seattle area).

I think there are other patterns as well, such as emphasizing "really" in the middle of a sentence such as (making this up):

Would you REALLY do that?

I think I've either heard or said, "It's like, really?"

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society -

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