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

Math Lady

Meme Example


Math Lady or Confused Lady originated from a scene of Brazilian actress Renata Sorrah from the telenovela, Senhora do Destino. Her character in the show is portrayed as comical, so fan pages have been made dedicated to posting pictures of her. It gained its popularity around summer of 2016 when Buzzfeed Portugal included it in one of their popular posts. The meme later evolved into “Math Lady” once a post on 9Gag featured the same image but with math equations all over her face. Since adding the math equations, the meme grew in popularity. It is typically used to express confusion.


Similar to emoticons, this image is meant to portray an emotional response to something that has been said. The template for this is usually single text. However, syntactically this meme varies the most. There are prime examples of it with a null subject and the commonly found adverb ‘when’ and subject noun ‘you’. There are even a few cases when the subjects are labeled first, similar to those of the dialogues of plays, and then the sentence follows. As seen in the example above.