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Desert outside El Paso, Texas | © Hadley Garland / Flickr
Desert outside El Paso, Texas | © Hadley Garland / Flickr

13 Things You Should Never Say in Texas

Picture of Hannah Phillips
Updated: 22 June 2017
Texans are known for their state pride, incredible hospitality, and easy-going nature. Maybe it’s the sunny climate or the locally sourced beer, but few things can really upset a Texan for long. If you would rather avoid awkwardness altogether, of course, these are the 13 things you should never say in the Lone Star State.

“So do you ride a horse to school?”

No. In fact, you are more likely to meet Texans who have never ridden a horse at all. Not every Texan owns a large ranch outside the city. And if they do happen to own land large enough to keep a horse, they also have a vehicle—or two. In cities such as Austin and San Antonio, public transportation makes it almost impossible to get far beyond certain areas of downtown without a car.

Not everyone rides a horse in Texas
Not everyone rides a horse in Texas | Anne Worner/Flickr

“Where are your cowboy hat and boots?”

See above. Not all Texans own land or compete at the rodeo every weekend. And though most Texans probably own a pair of boots at least, the fashion choice is more sartorial than practical.

“It’s too hot outside.”

Yes, it is. Get used to it. Between breweries, Barton Springs, and frozen margaritas, Texans have turned the scorching summer heat to their advantage with countless ways to cool down. Don’t complain; make the most of it! Try floating the San Marcos, Guadalupe, or Comal Rivers outside San Marcos; take a dip at Barton Springs Pool in Austin; or sip a locally sourced craft beer in the Texas Hill Country.

San Marcos River
San Marcos River | Kelly V/Flickr

“Why shouldn’t I mess with Texas?”

Don’t do it. While the slogan began as an advertising campaign to reduce littering on Texas highways, it’s an identity statement that embodies the Lone Star State (and Texans in general) today. If someone says “Don’t Mess With Texas,” it could mean a couple of things: don’t pick a fight you can’t finish or don’t litter.

Don’t Mess with Texas
Don’t Mess with Texas | © Brionv/Flickr

“Y’all is not a real word.”

In Texas, the plural form of “you” is “y’all”—a convenient contraction that shows no signs of dying out. Don’t try to fight the grammar: adopt it. The one-syllable word saves both time (“you all?”—No, thanks) and confusion (“you”—who, just me? Or are you referring to them too?). The expression aptly and succinctly describes a group of people—and don’t try to tell a Texan otherwise.

Hey Y’all