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Is This The Worst 1-Word Text Message You Can Possibly Send?

About a year ago, Isabel Steckel texted her 30-year-old older brother about hanging out the following afternoon. She received a one-word reply: “Sure.”

“If you’re bringing ‘sure’ attitude, then let’s not do it,” Steckel countered. “And he said, ‘lol,’ and I said, ‘I’m not kidding, lol.’”

This May, the New York City-based comedian shared a screenshot of this conversation on X, formerly Twitter, and received more than 11,000 likes. The “sure” haters rose up to share how answering “sure” sounds passive and dispiriting. A “sure” texter apologized in a reply for the violence he had “inflicted while trying to appear easy and breezy.”

This is only the latest entry in a perennial and continuously divisive debate over what “sure” really means. One Reddit user in the subreddit for “unpopular opinions” declared that the word “sure” is “synonymous with ‘yes’ and shouldn’t be associated with sarcasm and attitude,” while a commentator for the Outline wrote in 2018 that the word is “the most passive-aggressive affirmative phrase” that is “a thumbs up to your face, and a jerkoff motion behind your back.”

Clearly, we are not sure about what “sure” should mean.

Although the dictionary meaning of “sure” is affirmation and certainty, its meaning can be anything but certain but in a text conversation.

Why “sure” sounds so passive and indecisive in texts, according to a sociolinguist

Steckel said the word’s meaning is context dependent. She noted that replying “sure” for an errand or task is fine, but it sounds more devastating to hear when you are inviting someone to spend time with you.

“Asking someone to hang out for me is like a very vulnerable move. So when I’m getting that ‘sure,’ I’m like, ‘Alright, fuck it. I’m not doing it,’”

Read more on huffpost.com