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For example:

  • I don't know who Tiger Woods is.
  • For real?

and

  • I don't know who Tiger Woods is.
  • Really?

I don't see any difference in this case, but are there some specific cases when these exclamations are different?

  • 4
    General reference. There's no difference in meaning - it's just that "For real?" is still somewhat "slangier". – FumbleFingers Apr 30 '12 at 18:03
  • On <a href="urbandictionary.com/… </a> there are some cases of 'for real' that you can see. – user19148 Apr 30 '12 at 18:43
  • @FumbleFingers: a difference in connotation/usage is still a difference, and it's often precisely that sort of difference that isn't found in a dictionary. Therefore, by your very own reasoning, this is not general reference. – Marthaª Apr 30 '12 at 21:36
  • @Martha: Point taken. A difference is a difference is a difference. But it still seems to me it's general reference that these kind of "cut-down" responses aren't really "grammatical". Do we really want endless questions asking about the difference between, say, "You can be sure of that!" and the more common cut-down version Sure!? – FumbleFingers Apr 30 '12 at 21:46
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There's no difference in meaning - it's just that "For real?" is still somewhat "slangier".

Note that it's easy to see "Really?" as a shortened version of grammatically sound constructions such as "Is that really true?", whereas to me at least there's no obviously valid construction underpinning "For real?".

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