Monday, July 13, 2009

Grumpy Grammarian

Have you noticed the rampant misuse of the word literally?

I sure have. And it's making my head explode. Not literally.

Because literally means for real. Like, it actual happened. And I realize that people are using it for effect. I get that. But can't they just say "That salsa was so hot my tongue caught on fire," instead of "That salsa was so hot my tongue literally caught on fire." Because we know that your tongue didn't actually catch on fire. You saying it caught on fire is all the effect we need. It's called hyperbole. But when you throw in "literally" you cancel the hyperbole and make it sound like your tongue actually did catch on fire and that makes you a show-off because look at you and your miracle tongue, completely healed from the salsa induced inferno. What are you, some kind of witch doctor?

Next weeks lesson: The phrase "I could care less."

Oh, could you? Jerk.

10 comments:

ennbee said...

and saying "supposably" instead of "supposedly."

do they do that out west? they do it here, and it kills me.

Andrea said...

Thanks for the lesson Rachel. I really needed that, literally. And I agree with ennbee. It took forever to convince Andrew that it's not supposably, but he still says it anyway.

teri said...

or when people say it when there was no figurative use for it. like, "this car literally pulled out in front of me." yeah, no one assumed it was a figure of speech. you can only mean in literally.
and whilst your curing the public of its need to use "literally," please ask it to collectively reduce its use of the word, "actually."
additionally, please clarify that it's "would have" and not "would of."
i realize you don't know me, but thank you for allowing me a little space on your soap box.

ennbee said...

well, i'm gettin' all fired up now! it's not "i use to be thin," it's "i USED to be thin."

or fat, depending.

:)

The Katzbox said...

I've noticed the growing misuse of the phrase, "I could care less" for several years, but every time I tried to explain the correct version, that if they REALLY AND TRULY meant what they were attempting to communicate, they would say, "I COULDN'T care less", then people's eyes would glaze over and they would stare at me like I was a different species...literally....so I gave up and now I just nod knowingly while I chew the inside of my cheek.

Taylor Family said...

Thank you! You put into words what I've fumed about inside my head for years!!!!

Lety said...

Please tell me you're going to also cover "irregardless"! It's like nails on a chalkboard. Literally.

Rach said...

Every time people use that word incorrectly, my head literally explodes. And the "could care less" vs. "couldn't care less" thing has always confused me, because I've been corrected on both phrases, so I just avoid using either. Literally.

Amanda said...

My favorite is fustrated.

Chris said...

My favorite is: "might could", as in "We might could go to the beach". My second favorite is: "used to could", as in "I used to could ski, but then I broke my leg."