My question involves a group text conversation between friends whom are all native english speakers.

Friend A began the conversation with a photograph of himself dressed up for a night on the town, asking the group whether or not his outfit would attract the opposite sex.

Friend B responded by saying that he did not approve of his jacket and Friend C quickly agreed saying "he had already talked to him about wearing that jacket.."

Friend D defended Friend A by telling him that she really liked the jacket at which point Friend C responded with the one word "exactly". What was meant by this one word response in this circumstance?

It seemed to cause a mixture of laughter and offense but I do not understand the underlying meaning of this word.

  • "Exactly" means "You are right in every particular thing you just said". How this squares with Friend C agreeing with both sides of the argument is up to you to figure out.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 18:00
  • 4
    Friend C was being sarcastic. He is (jokingly) contemptuous of Friend D's fashion sense. So because Friend D likes the jacket, Friend C is telling Friend A, that's enough of a reason NOT to wear it.
    – Joe Dark
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 21:02

3 Answers 3


The answer Joe Dark gives in his comment beneath your question accurately explains the situation.

Friends B and C disapprove of Friend A's fashion decision, and I would be willing to bet that Friend C's critical comments included not only the quoted phrase about having "already talked to [Friend A] about wearing that jacket" but also some generalized comment to the effect that no one with any fashion sense would approve of Friend A's choice.

When Friend D then chimes in to support Friend A's choice of a jacket, Friend C's rejoinder "exactly" reiterates the claim that no one with any fashion sense would approve of it, but this time the claim carries with it the obvious implication that Friend D has just demonstrated that she has no fashion sense either. Laughter and offense taking then ensue.


"Exactly" is short for "exactly right", or something with that general meaning. It indicates that the speaker agrees wholeheartedly with the preceding statement.

Exactly in English has two meanings:

Wiktionary: exactly

1. (manner) without approximation; precisely.
     Measure exactly so we can be sure it is right.
2. (focus) Used to provide emphasis.
      It was exactly an Eastern gray squirrel.

This is the second usage, to provide emphasis to agreement that is implied though not stated.


it means that he completely agrees with the other person

  • 1
    Too scant for an answer. On EL&U the best answers have some sort of detail, references (where applicable) and examples. And some might argue on an English language website, capital letters and full stops are the minimal requirements. But I'm not one of those. :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 17:07

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