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What It Means When You See 'FTFY' In Texts & Online

Photo: Ross Helen / Getty Images, Isai Hernandez, haruiro via Canva
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Navigating the internet is never easy when new slang appears seemingly overnight.

If the acronym FTFY has left you staring blankly at someone's comment on one of your posts or in reply to your emails, keep reading to become officially unstumped.

What does FTFY mean?

FTFY is an acronym for “fixed that for you.” So, it’s no surprise that it frequently appears in today's snarky online atmosphere.

For some, FTFY is a sarcastic response to spelling errors and grammatical mishaps. Ironic as it may be to use a slang abbreviation when poking fun at someone’s weak grasp on grammar, lots of people view FTFY as a serious insult.

It’s not all bad, though. FTFY could also be a quick way of letting your coworkers know that you’ve completed a task or rectified an issue without having to take on the laborious burden of actually typing out four whole words.

It’s the 21st century, people. Proper grammar is out. Speed and efficiency are in.

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There are also additional meanings for FTFY.

In school settings, FTFY means "full-time, full year," often used to describe first-year students. In fact, many universities and colleges use FTFY to indicate freshman students.

According to Bowling Green State University, FTFY (First-Time First-Year) means "Students attending any college for the first time, including those with Advanced Placement credit and those who have earned college credits prior to high school graduation and/or during summer session between high school and college matriculation."

Other meanings FTFY are rare, but are used to express frustration at a certain person or situation. FTFY, in this case, stands for "f*** this, f*** you."

The Origin Of FTFY

While the exact origins of FTFY remain unknown, the acronym was first defined on Urban Dictionary in April of 2005 by a user named princess_fitz. The example given at the time was, perhaps surprisingly in retrospect, not at all sarcastic:

"i can't see the image?"

"it's ok, i FTFY"

In fact, it's likely that FTFY was originally used as a way to be helpful to others. The use of FTFY in this sincere form continued for a time on tech forums like Computer Hope, which relied on formatting tags to embed images into posts or profile customization on websites like MySpace for a time.

But, as it happens with many memes and phrases that come to bear unfortunate consequences for office etiquette and friendly relations do, around 2009 or 2010, FTFY soon gained popularity after becoming a meme and, eventually, through use on the popular Reddit.

The board known as r/FTFY was established on August 12, 2009. It has since grown to be used more often as a way to point out when someone has made a mistake so obvious or ridiculous that someone else had to jump in and fix it for them.

People now love throwing this phrase into the mix as a sarcastic way to make sure it's known they've won an argument, especially on social media sites and apps like Twitter.

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How to Use FTFY in Text Messages and on Social Media

So, how do we put FTFY in a sentence? My knee-jerk reaction is to say “don’t.” But provided we’re not being too harsh towards others, this sardonic response can actually be quite funny.

We all have to learn to take a joke sometimes, but given that this term is widely accepted as sarcasm, make sure your coworkers know you’re not trying to come across as rude or patronizing should you decide to hit them with an FTFY message. It might be safer just to use your words!

Here are some examples of ways someone might use FTFY:

1. You can use FTFY when something needed a second look.

Them: “Hey, did you get a chance to look at that document I sent you?”

You: “Yes, it was full of errors. FTFY.”

2. You can use FTFY without sugarcoating it.

Them: “We should go out tonight, party, and be carefree!”

You: “You mean we should go out tonight, make terrible life choices, and regret it later. FTFY.”

3. You can use FTFY when you proving that the second time's the charm.

Them: “Hey, that file you sent me won’t load.”

You: “Oops, sorry. I’ll FTFY and send it again.”

4. You can use FTFY when letting someone know you caught their social error before they did.

Them: "Hey, could you add the employees that missed the google invite I sent out yesterday?"

You: "Already sent it to them. FTFY."

5. FTFY can come in handy when correcting someone's grammar on Twitter.

Them: "Authorities are investigating a fire that broke out at a summer camp started by the late actor Paul Newman for seriously ill children and their families."

You: "Authorities at a summer camp established by the late actor Paul Newman for seriously ill children and their families are investigating a fire. #FTFY"

6. Use FTFY to stand up for yourself when your ex texts you out of the blue.

Them: "I'm dating someone better than you."

You: "Better her than me. FTFY."

7. You can use FTFY to make your opening and closing arguments at once.

Them: "'Seinfeld' is the best sitcom."

You: "'I Love Lucy' is the best sitcom. FTFY."

To sum it up, the prime formula for using FTFY is to keep It simple. You quote someone, change a word or a few and then add FTFY at the end.

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How To Respond When Someone Says 'FTFY' To You

Now, keep in mind that FTFY is usually used in a sarcastic way; however, it is sometimes used in the workplace. So, first, recognize the context in which FTFY is used. Once it becomes clear, then you'll know how to respond properly.

How to respond when FTFY is used in the workplace

If your coworker or boss responds to your email or message with FTFY, they are most likely using it in a way that lets you know they were able to assist you. When you respond, be sure to remain polite and be grateful for their help.

For example:

You: “Hey Dan, did you look over the document I sent you yesterday?"

Them: “Yes, I did, but it needed some changes. FTFY.”

In this case, you could reply with:

"Thank you so much for your help!"

"Great, thanks. Always happy to have a second set of eyes take a look."

"You're the best for doing that, thank you!"

How to respond when FTFY is used sarcastically

The more likely way someone will use FTFY is to make fun of you for an opinion or specific taste, or to disagree in a mean-spirited way.

For example:

You: "Justin Bieber is the musical voice of our generation!"

Them: "I think you mean Beyoncé. FTFY."

Another example:

You: "Pickles are so delicious!!"

Them: "Pickles are disgusting garbage. FTFY."

In either of these instances, it's perfectly fine to respond just as sarcastically:

"Wow, thanks for the input. You're so helpful!"

"You must get a lot of dates, don't you?"

"Oh, you're charming."

Or, just don't respond at all. Simply ignore someone taking a jab at you.

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her on Twitter for more.

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