Such Syntax, Much Meme: A Linguistic Analysis of Memes and Their Structural Syntax

Distracted Boyfriend

Meme Example

distracted boyfriend


The Distracted Boyfriend meme originates from the stock image by photographer Antonio Guillem taken on November 2, 2015 found on the stock database iStock. The original description has it labeled as "Disloyal man with his girlfriend looking at another girl". It spread via Instagram in 2017 as a way to express various forms of infidelity.


The template for this meme is known as Object Labeling in which the subjects of the image are labeled. For that reason the only syntactic feature is of a single noun being used for each character, but there have been instances of sentences being used. In that case, the subject is null because the “boyfriend” character takes the subject of the other two sentences.