I told my (very young and friendly) professor via email that I found a potentially great, reputable paper to base my research on, and she responded with, "that would be great ^^"

Please let me know what his response is."

What does ^^ mean?

Is that something that shows...excitement / curiosity ...or more like it shows doubt / second-guessing?

Not sure whether this is relevant, but she is French, and we are at an American university.

My guess would be that somehow ^^ is the equivalent of this !! but I've never seen this before at all...


  • 1
    It is hard to say without seeing additional context. It can be used to indicate that she is referring to something previously stated or quoted (the carets look like arrowheads pointing "up"). It might be a typo for an emoticon like ^-^. But these uses aren't restricted to English.
    – choster
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 1:34
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about learning English.
    – user3169
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 2:18
  • 1
    @user3169 ... it sort of is about learning English ... people actually put emoji's into their papers for school ;-)
    – User001
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 2:56
  • 4
    @user3169: Emoticon usage, like other slang, is part of a language, although unlike most slang it can cross language boundaries somewhat easier. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 3:19
  • Raised eyebrows.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


It's an emoticon. Based on the context, it shows your professor's positive reaction to your email.

enter image description here

Usually, the variants are:

^^, or (^^,)

^__^ or (^_^)

^-^ . . .

^.^ . . .

  • I still don't know what that emotion is meant to be! :( Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 10:52
  • 1
    Anything positive, @Araucaria. Would depend on every situation. What we know is its positive connotation. ^^ (Personally, the first thing that comes to my mind is being delighted or pleased)
    – shin
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 11:24
  • @shin Thanks! Hate not understanding emoticons ... Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 11:25
  • This emoticon is a variant of smiling-face-with-smiling-eyes - it depicts the way your eyes squint (close or partially close) while smiling a genuine smile.
    – G0BLiN
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 16:46
  • I think it's useful to say further that it seems to be in the Japanese tradition of emoticons, about which Google will yield tons. As in anime, there is very strong emphasis on the eyes showing emotion, and the mouth can be de-emphasized, sometimes (as here) to the point of omitting it.
    – CCTO
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 17:01

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