she literally out here just flexing and proving to everybody how versatile and amazing she is

This sentence is what I saw in "youtube" comments. As far as I know, any sentence should have at least one verb. The words "flexing" and "proving" seem like verbs, but verbs with the suffix "-ing" can't be used alone.

I am running (O)
I running (X)

So I don't understand the meaning of this sentence. Is there anything I'm missing? And what does "flexing" mean?

  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Why sometimes in the U.S.A do they skip verbs?
    – Laurel
    Aug 17 at 13:25
  • 2
    I had to delete all the comments because they went very far off the rails (including the ones that justified the close votes here). You cannot be disrespectful to other people even if you don't like how they speak (and that's also not a good reason to close a question). Also, please use the answer box to leave answers.
    – Laurel
    Aug 20 at 20:15

3 Answers 3


You correctly noticed that this is not standard English, which would be

she is literally out here just flexing and proving to everybody how versatile and amazing she is

In the original, the "to be" verb is omitted, but implied. This is an example of zero copula, a phenomenon common in many dialects of English, particularly African American Vernacular English. AAVE does not follow the same grammar rules as standard English, but nonetheless has been demonstrated to show internal grammatical consistency, making it a true dialect rather than a result of ignorance or a mistake, as some unfortunately still assume.

  • 7
    One note: in AAVE, you can only omit the copula in places where you can turn it into the contraction "-'s" or "-'re." So the "is" at the end of the comment is mandatory, since you couldn't replace that "she is" with "she's."
    – alphabet
    Aug 17 at 20:22
  • 4
    While this could be AAVE, in the context of online comments it may just be sloppy writing. People write these quickly and don't always proofread.
    – Barmar
    Aug 18 at 14:47
  • @Araucaria-Nothereanymore. Can’t you also use zero copula in the past tense of AAVE, which could not be contracted in Standard English? (And I’ve heard “she be flexing” described as an imperfect tense, something Standard English lacks.)
    – Davislor
    Aug 19 at 13:18
  • @Davislor I'm afraid I can't remember. All I do remember is that it's complicated! Aug 19 at 13:22
  • @Barmar the kind of "internet slang" used in pop-culture youtube/tiktok comments often does seem to derive from AAVE. Having spent some time in virtual circles where people use such language, it does appear intentional.
    – Esther
    Aug 21 at 14:38

As a native English speaker and an avid reader of youtube comments, I love this question!

Yes, in standard English it would be 'she is flexing' not 'she flexing' but the 'correct' version would sound completely wrong in this sentence. When I read 'she literally out here flexing', I could 'hear' the accent and intonation in which the sentence would be pronounced - it's a black American style of speech. 'Flexing' means 'showing off' or 'bragging' by the way James K - but perhaps without the negative overtones. I imagine it's derived from a metaphor of someone flexing their biceps to show how strong they are.

In this style of speech 'literally' and 'out here' are what I would call decorative - they add emphasis, rhythm and maybe comedic effect to the utterance. 'Out here' might be in the sense of 'publicly'

Interestingly, the verb form of this idiom, if it were included, could be 'be' rather than 'is'. So I can imagine a form of this sentence such as 'she literally be out here flexing and proving to everybody how versatile and amazing she is'.

From a linguistic point of view the sentence contains no mistakes: it's exactly as the writer intended.

  • 15
    It's grammatical, but it's following a different grammar than standard English. If you're interested, you can look up en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Vernacular_English and dive into the details. Language is a continuum across time and geography. Aug 17 at 16:34
  • 5
    Following my own advice, I just read this snippet, which illustrates my point. "Misconceptions about AAVE are, and have long been, common, and have stigmatized its use. One myth is that AAVE is grammatically "simple" or "sloppy". However, like all dialects, AAVE shows consistent internal logic and grammatical complexity, and is used naturally by a group of people to express thoughts and ideas" Aug 17 at 16:45
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    @BillJ It is by no means ungrammatical. The fact that it’s a YouTube comment means we don’t know the speaker’s intentions, but we can say with absolute certainty that the sentence is 100% grammatical AAVE. Whether that’s intentional or not is beside the point – without knowing you and your dialect, I also have no way of knowing whether you actually intended to write your comment in AAVE, but made some grammatical mistakes and accidentally ended up with something that’s grammatical in standard English instead. That doesn’t change the grammaticality of it. Aug 18 at 10:15
  • 3
    @BillJ What a bizarre argument. You’re essentially saying we never know what anything is, which is nonsense. We DO know that it’s AAVE. Whether it was intended to be AAVE is beside the point. We have a text sample of one sentence, and that one sentence is written in a style that aligns fully with AAVE in terms of both grammar and vocabulary; hence, it is AAVE. It may also be valid in some other form of English (though none that I’m familiar with – if you know of any, please do list them), but that does not mean it’s not AAVE. Aug 18 at 10:37
  • 4
    "She be out here flexing" typically has a different meaning than "she out here flexing". That "be" would be the habitual be. That might make sense in this case (if the performer typically acts like this, rather than just in this video), but anyway, it does change the meaning somewhat.
    – Juhasz
    Aug 18 at 19:57

It's very casual, not standard English. Possibly the person who wrote it would, if they read it back, consider it to have been a mistake. Possibly not.

There's no punctuation, so we shall need to guess where to put it, and it is missing some important little words.

She is literally out here, just flexing and proving to everybody how versatile and amazing she is.

There is much that is unclear. It's unclear what "out here" means. Perhaps it means "out (away from home) here (in my region)". It's not clear what "literally" means, is possibly means nothing, it may mean "not literally".

It's not clear what "flexing" means, my guess would be that it is metaphorical: meaning "showing off". But it's not clear how she is showing off, or how she is proving herself to be versatile and amazing.

So, no, without context, it's not clear exactly what it means, but it's clear that generally he likes her and thinks she is very good. (I'm not going to go all the way through the comment thread to work out the context).

When people write comments on videos, they will make lots of mistakes. It's normal. You shouldn't expect youtube comments to follow the nice standard grammar from the textbook, partly because it's casual and lots of slang will be used, and partly because people will make mistakes.

  • 2
    A lot of people use 'literally' as hyperbole these days… & yeah, I literally hate it ;) Aug 17 at 15:00
  • I haven't looked at the context either, but perhaps it could also be intended negatively, basically meaning "she is just showing off". Aug 18 at 9:30
  • 3
    I don’t think there’s anything unclear about what ‘out here’ means – I wouldn’t even have classified it as particularly AAVE-ish or slangy, just normal English. It means very little, other than to imply that the action in question is taking place in some sort of public forum, rather than in private. Similarly, the intransitive use of ‘flexing’ may be slangy, but when does it mean anything other than ‘displaying impressive skills’? The only thing that I would agree is unclear without context is how ‘she’ is showing her versatility and amazingness. Aug 18 at 10:11
  • 1
    James, as you know, I constantly post on this list "delete questions that are just typos!". However in this case it is super-obvious that it is a specific African-American mode of sentence construction. (Apparently called "zero copula", per another answer)
    – Fattie
    Aug 19 at 14:47
  • 1
    As someone who reads lots of comments and internet lingo this sort of sentence is extremely common, clear, and certainly not a mistake. A rough translation to standard English grammar would be something like "she is ostentatiously showing everyone how great she is"
    – eps
    Aug 20 at 19:05

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