General Question

Vincentt's avatar

How do you use "lol"?

Asked by Vincentt (8079points) June 2nd, 2008

I’m curious, because when I use “lol”, I mostly mean the Dutch word, which means something like “fun”. Thinking “laugh out loud” also seems strange to me because sticking “laugh out loud” at the end of a sentence doesn’t make it “flow”.

So I guess my question is: do you read “laugh out loud” when you see “lol”?

I’ve never used to many quotes in a question, LOL ^.^

OK, that was too lame…

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39 Answers

iwamoto's avatar

well, personally i barely use it, mostly it’s just “haha” which is just one letter more but a lot clearer on what i’m doing, in school (computer science) classmates uses lol in the “laughing out loud” sense and somtimes even ROFL, which kind of irritates me, because they’re just sitting in their chairs instead of rolling on the floor laughing…

Vincentt's avatar

Haha, makes me think of this hilarious t-shirt :)

ccatron's avatar

when the “chatting craze” started the cool thing to do was put your emotion or some sort of action at the end of your sentence or as a sentence. the words were never meant to be read as part of the sentence. “LOL” just signified that you were laughing out loud about what some other person just said. Another example is when people would have imaginary snow ball fights in chat rooms…they would say *throws snowball at so-and-so, which really got on my nerves. I haven’t been in a chat room in years, but I hope people aren’t still pulling that crap.

People also use symbols to show emotions, i.e. :) or :( or :P , etc.

these symbols tell you that a person is smiling or frowning or sticking their tongue out at you…you don’t read it as “semi-colon close parenthesis”.

wildflower's avatar

If only people understood “glg” (giggling like a goodin) or “npml” (nearly pissing myself laughing), but alas, they’re not really recognised acronyms.
I do use the occasional “lol”, but only if I really am laughing! and typically type it as a reaction.

How I read other people’s “lol” very much depends on the rest of their message – do I genuinely believe they’re laughing or are they just one of the many that can’t string together a sentence without a few “lol”‘s thrown in for good measure….

playthebanjo's avatar

sometimes I will use it to indicate that my sarcastic remark was not meant to be mean.

wildflower's avatar

sarcasm meant to be mean?? surely not!

DeezerQueue's avatar

Because it’s been so frequently used, and for some years now, I no longer think about it, so it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the sentence or thought. It may be that because English isn’t your native language that you’re still processing information, and that’s just one more piece of information that you’re processing. I process it in the same way that I would process some punctuation, an exclamation point, for example. If it were used with far greater frequency, you would probably find that at some point you would become so accustomed to seeing it that you would experience it much in the same way that I do.

I don’t any longer necessarily believe that the person who writes it is literally laughing out loud, either, they may be sniggering instead, but the general interpretation is that what they are writing (or reading) is intended to be humorous.

Vincentt's avatar

@ccatron – but smilies are facial expressions, not words added to a sentence.

@DQ – but isn’t reading like punctuation annoying too? I mean, punctuation (like the comma in this sentence) is meant to be read like a pause, to present some rest in the sentence. When I read LOL, reading it like the Dutch word is not that annoying because the sentence just flows, but when it’s an acronym, it really slows down reading, I’d say.

DeezerQueue's avatar

@Vincentt That’s because I really no longer “read” it. I experienced the same thing after I had learned Dutch but before I was fluent. I don’t read punctuation either. I think it can partly be attributed to this phenomenon.

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

While this may be difficult for you to read because English is not your native language, for most native English readers they’ll have no problems reading it with some degree of ease. We become so adept at our own language that we no longer need to think about it.

While I do agree that some acronyms may slow down reading, for many people LOL and ROFL are not among them.

Vincentt's avatar

OK, wait, I’m going to try that with a Dutch text. I automatically scrambled it so I’m not prejudiced.

===
Als je me meorgn zeit
Zul je dan weetn wat ik veol
Zul je je moioe vneiedrn zeeggn
Kjik dat is die lekue jnogen die ik beodel
Of weet je smos neit wat ik dorom ekle nahct
En zie je aleeln maar een gek
Die heel eng naar je lchat

Als je me mroegn zeit

Als je me mreogn zeit
En ik je eejiinldk veetrl
Hanoelg ik jou al wil en al wahct
Leutisr je dan wel
Lcah je naar mij
Of maak ik je bnag
Loop je noiot meer viobroj
===

Perhaps that was excessively scrambled, but I had a very noticeable slowdown. Still readable, but slower.

Ah well, I’m not a fast reader, too – perhaps because I do read punctuation, whether in Dutch or in English.

phoenyx's avatar

I use it sparingly, and I only put “lol” if I am actually laughing out loud.

ccatron's avatar

@Vincent – “lol” is not a word added to a sentence. It’s a way of telling the reader that you find something humorous. it’s more like a symbol

Foolaholic's avatar

I don’t use lol, becasue I can’t ever remember a time when something on aim/im floored me laughing. Instead I use lqtm, which means laugh quietly to myself.

robmandu's avatar

@ccatron, I think @Vincentt is referring to Questions like: I hate to be clichè but gotta know what others have to say lol. Ok top 5 greatest movies ever?

… where the “lol” is inserted in the middle of the thought… and not in a way that makes grammatical sense.

I see @ccatron’s point and understand @themherme’s intention (and I think @Vincentt does, too). But I also agree that it is visually and semantically jarring. I end up having to read the sentence two or three times to ensure I got the message correctly.

wizard's avatar

Blame it on World of Warcraft

wildflower's avatar

I blame everything on WoW!

wizard's avatar

Wizard says “lol”

gailcalled's avatar

I don’t. And if I have to read a question several times in order to get the meaning, I generally skip. Wizard (look up) shows how to waste time and space,and “we are not amused.” Gack.

elchoopanebre's avatar

When I read “lol” in my head i pronounce “lawl.” I rarely use it though.

wildflower's avatar

The gnome rogue, Rapwnzl, says ROFL

playthebanjo's avatar

pRhaps ther shud b 2 fluthers, 1 4 thOs hu txtspkk & 1 4 thOs hu prefer spOkn eng?

Skyrail's avatar

I use ‘lol’ a lot even if I’m not laughing, I tend to just put it in when in online conversation if something is somewhat remotely funny as it’s very dumbed down (are you picking up what I’m putting down?) if I find something genuinely funny I will say ‘haha’ or bring it into the conversation and tell them that I find it funny because lol is used so much, it doesn’t quite cut it anymore…lol?

wildflower's avatar

@playthebanjo – just go away, that’s making me cringe, I’m afraid to look up now!!

playthebanjo's avatar

playthebanjo is sulking

wildflower's avatar

play a cheerful tune and you’ll be grand :P

playthebanjo's avatar

Cringing has been brought to you by:

http://www.transl8it.com

gailcalled's avatar

Aristotle and then Moliere (a funny guy) said that you repeat things three times to be amusing. After that, b-o-o-o-o-ring.

playthebanjo's avatar

I heard once that you had to hear something three times before you retain it.

Skyrail's avatar

Which is why jokes are boring then because you know them ¬.¬ oh that transl8it site states that ‘lol’ = ‘lots of luck’ so maybe we should all stop using it in the laughing sense…

robmandu's avatar

“Lots of luck”
“Lots of luck”
“Lots of luck”

Nope… no good. Never will retain that.

“LOL” will always be “Laughing Out Loud”.

wildflower's avatar

It’s always in 3’s if you want it to be remembered:
– You tell people what you’re going to tell them
– You tell them
– You tell them what you just told them
lol, lol, lol

Skyrail's avatar

Sounds like the majority of my essays at school wildflower

gailcalled's avatar

@play: Will Rogers said that originally, I think. But he said that you had to use a word three time for it to belong to you.

In my circle of friends, lol can also mean “little old lady.”

And if you think about it, this is a wonderful site to try and be an original (rather than derivative) writer. The skill comes in handy always and everywhere.

wildflower's avatar

@skyrail
I’m afraid it doesn’t end there. I use that in reports, presentations, lesson plans and college-assignments

Skyrail's avatar

@wildflower, well I guess it’s a very useful structure for people to follow and hopefully it allows people to pick up on the topic quickly :)

Alina1235's avatar

I use it all the time, so people don’t think I’m being sarcastic. And usually at the end

El_Cadejo's avatar

I just take lol another way of say ha, heh, lawl. I really dont read it or think about what it means literally just another way of expressing laughter. Which is why ill throw it in random places in my sentences even if “laugh out loud” doesnt make sense written out there.

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