He wasn"t to know it at the time, however on November 13, 2008, invoice Barnes make Twitter history.

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“Swam in the ocean,” he created at 10:40 p.m. “In the, and I cannot tension this enough, *Atlantic* ocean.” Then and there, Barnes became the an initial person ever to use that very certain phrase on Twitter. Therefore "And ns cannot tension this enough" to be born.



“I live in Seattle yet was in Miami selling publications of mine comics at the Miami book Fair,” Barnes tells me end Twitter. “So it was mildly remarkable that ns was swim in the s in November, and also slightly much more notable that it wasn"t my normal ocean.”

In the beforehand days of Twitter, there was nothing specifically funny around "And i cannot stress this enough", a phrase now used v hysterical abandon. It to be employed, with the weird exception, to convey solid feelings about the object in question. Find for how often it to be used throughout Twitter"s very first four years and you"ll see tweets prefer “I anxiety this and I cannot anxiety this enough - execute not automate her Twitter” or “Never. And also I cannot stress this enough. Never offer a girl a an essential to her place based upon anything other than her toughness of mind.”

By 2011, once Twitter was in its infancy, the expression was being tweeted every work or two. 6 years later, through the platform"s userbase having grown to 328 million, world were still greatly using the phrase seriously. Yet phrases favor “fuck, and I cannot stress this enough, you” to be emerging.

Fuck, and I cannot stress this enough, you.”

Then, in 2018, points changed. Harry formats stans began to say, “Spit (and i cannot tension this enough) in my mouth”; people regularly started to insert it between “What” and “the fuck”; and, ~ above September 19, 2018, a user dubbed
ovwdesigner appears to have been the first-ever to say, “Yee, and also I cannot stress and anxiety this enough, haw” — an applications that perfectly includes how flexible and weirdly funny the phrase is.

The words take it on a life of your own. If "And i cannot tension this enough" has a large Bang, this can have been it.

“We in reality emphasize things in assorted ways,” says grammars professor Ai Taniguchi, “and one of the means that we perform so is prosodically.” This means, for example, that once saying “I love you” great we can stress any word in that sentence. V this method being harder to execute on a composed platform choose Twitter, a expression like "And ns cannot stress and anxiety this enough" comes right into its own. It beseeches the leader to appreciate that the word because of arrive in ~ the end of the six-word expression is intensely essential – however much of one anticlimax it turns out come be. Psycholinguist Allison Nguyen says, “You"re yes, really putting emphasis on the truth that OK, you intend me just to to speak "Yee haw" however I"m gonna stop and also make friend think about why I want you to yes, really think around the "Haw" part.”



The various other thing written speech can not replicate well, says Taniguchi, early to all of the words in a sentence gift visible front of time, is suspense. “How long this expression is — "And i cannot stress and anxiety this enough" — actually creates a hold-up in the processing of the sentence.”

In July 2019 Peter Woof (not his actual name) had actually had enough. He developed a Twitter account that would instantly retweet anyone who used the expression "And i cannot tension this enough". Since then, the account – Can"t Stress enough – has tweeted an ext than 51,000 times. “I initially produced it to make fun of what ns felt was an overused phrase,” he tells me by email. “I assumed it would certainly be funny to have users reasoning "Wow! someone retweeted my hot, initial take!" only to have actually them visit my timeline and also see a million various other tweets saying the very same thing.”

The beauty beauty of the phrase, states Nyugen, lies in its versatility. “People feel prefer they deserve to customize it.” A perfect illustration that this was once users began inserting the phrase into famous price quotes from films and literature: “A single man in possession that a an excellent fortune must, and I cannot stress this enough, be in desire of a wife”; “For sale: infant shoes, and I cannot stress this enough, never worn”; or – my favorite – “Welcome come – and I cannot stress and anxiety this sufficient – Jurassic Park.”

Welcome to – and I cannot tension this enough – Jurassic Park.”

Why is the phrase so funny? “It raises expectations that will absolutely fail to it is in met,” claims Barnes. It need to be supplied in urgent situations yet instead, the says, “It is provided for any number of trivial and also banal clarifications. This paints a picture of the author as ridiculously self-important. In various other words, and I cannot anxiety this enough, it"s funny because nearly everything deserve to be, and also therefore have to be, emphasize enough.”

My favorite instances are those in i beg your pardon the last component of the phrase is the the very least meaningful component of the sentence. The Jurassic Park example begs the question, "Why is this person so invested in the expression "Jurassic Park?"" The greater the stakes, the much less incongruous the phrase.

As Taniguchi defines to she classes, over there are fundamental rules of English that we simply understand to be true. We say, "The pumpkin," us don"t say, "Pumpkin the." You have the right to say, "That is utter nonsense," yet never, "That nonsense is utter." So once we see these basic rules broken, we gain the surprise. However in order because that the expression to it is in funny, the ascendancy needs to be damaged in together a way that the sentence could still be real English.

This is why "I saw pumpkin the" isn"t remotely funny, and why — to mine mind — "N, and also I cannot tension this enough, O," or "Yippee ki – and also I cannot stress and anxiety this sufficient – yay motherfucker" aren"t either. The sentence needs to it is in something that a human being would actually say. The closest popular comparison might be the habit of breaking up a word v expletives: "abso-fucking-lutely." it works as soon as you placed the expletive in the natural spot. "Ab-fucking-solutely," or "absolute-fucking-ly" don"t work due to the fact that they don"t sound natural.



“You suppose someone to finish it and when they don"t there"s something yes, really funny around that mismatch that expectations,” claims Nguyen. An additional comparable meme, Taniguchi says, is "doge" speak, an digital approximation of how dogs could speak. In doge speak, adjective are replaced by nouns and also vice versa: "very readers;" "such neutral." Singular nouns are used when many nouns should be: "many cat."

“When you run into these damaged rules top top Twitter,” Taniguchi says, “It provides you realize, "Oh yeah, this is a fact about English." and also I think us are very fascinated by it as soon as we establish this is about our language.”

Twitter is fine suited to together a expression spreading like a virus due to the fact that of a) the low obstacle of entry to tweeting anything in ~ all; b) Twitter"s beginnings as a linguistic platform; c) the ease with which people can force things into other people"s timelines. When a phrase picks up momentum, says Nguyen, Twitter"s retweet duty can enable the phrase to keep going and also going. Phrases like this have tendency to start in distinctive Twitter subcultures, she says. “"And ns cannot anxiety this enough" gained lucky. It taken place to come roughly at the appropriate time. I have actually seen mim grow and also then live and also then die in the room of 6 months.”



Interestingly, the phenomenon at the love of "And i cannot anxiety this enough" – acquisition an unnecessarily long time come convey simple information – is the precise opposite that what"s in ~ the love of an equally well-known phrase: using the word "Because" and also then including a noun after ~ it together a means of comprehensively explaining a problem. (Because Internet became the location of "internet linguist" Gretchen McCulloch"s 2019 book around online language.) In the latter phrase, superfluous prepositions and definite posts are done away with, seemingly because online no one has time to check out anything but the meat of a sentence. In the previous phrase, the extraneous aspects are positively embraced, developing a countercultural impact that is close come anarchic.

This is about our language.

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Where will certainly the phrase go from here? Twitter is fickle, and also its fashions impossible to predict, however Taniguchi is quietly confident. “I deserve to see this type of phenomenon lasting much longer than some of the mim that room tied to details celebrities or details politicians.” Woof, who probably sees the phrase an ext often than anyone else on the planet, claims that due to the sincerity of the civilization using that he has warmed to the phrase, and also no much longer views it with the disdain that educated the account in the very first place. “It"s still definitely overused though,” the says. (He may have something that a point: a find for the phrase on the work of composing demonstrates that it is still offered multiple time every hour.)

If it ever before dies out, the looks favor it may not it is in for quite some, and I cannot stress this enough, time.