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By examining a collection of health-related memes, I propose ways to categorize the illocutionary force of memes functioning as the speech act of advice. 200 English-language memes were gathered in the period 2018–2023 through Google image searches. I found the affiliative and disaffiliative strategies that Placencia (2012) described within advice exchanges; meme multimodality, however, offered additional versions of these strategies: characters generated affiliation or disaffiliation and more humor appeared in affiliative and disaffiliative moves. I highlight four characteristics of advising in memes: the speech act is performed indirectly; both characters and wordplay can create humor; peer advisors must signal what authorizes them to give advice; and advice deploys mythbusting. Thus, memes align interlocutors within vernacular online conversations.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: CMC ; internet memes ; speech acts ; advice ; health communication
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