Friday, October 12, 2007

Literally

I know that this has been annoying people for quite a while (anyone remember the SNL skit?), but it seems that recently there has been a rash of incorrect use of the word 'literally'. I just heard a local weatherman refer to the temperature change in the coming week by saying: "The bottom will literally drop out."

I don't claim to always employ perfect grammar, but flagrant misuse of the language easily annoys me. When using a figurative metaphor (the antithesis of 'literal') one ought not refer to it as literal; especially when one's profession is to communicate.

I just noticed that I've tried really hard to write this post using correct grammar and syntax - isn't that ironic?*


*I'm laughing to myself thinking about the fact that 'ironic' is another word this is often misused (as I just did, thereby making the entire post somewhat ironic). Oh, man - I'm so funny (to myself).

8 comments:

rich jandt said...

I think your explanation is a bit overly-redundant.

Rizzle said...

One might say that you've over exagerated the point.

Often I like to use the word irregardless...which isn't a word at all, not to mention the fact that it doesn't really make sense...but it just feels so right

Mark said...

For real, yo! When I hear people overusing that, like, all the time, I literally want to run over and scream "Your retarded!"

rich jandt said...

When I was growing up we would use the term "dethaw" when we would take things out of the freezer. It wasn't untill high school that I noticed we were saying.

Tammie's Thoughts said...

How did you make it for 3 years in Memphis without going crazy?

Jason Campbell said...

I don't have quite as much a problem with imprecise usage of words (probably because I am a compulsive exaggerator and love to say things like "I'm SERIOUS, that was so awesome it LITERALLY BLEW M Y M I N D!" What the heck does that even mean? But it's expressive to say, and so I can't help it, along with copious body language over-expressiveness.

On the other hand, I flinch constantly at completely nonexistent words (which unfortunately, by matter of consensus are now in latter editions of the dictionary): disorientated and irregardless (sorry rizzle) being two of my most-hated. Next on the heels are the misuse of words like nauseous "I feel nauseous" literally means "I make feel as though I make other people feel nauseated." Give us a few years, the definition change will be complete.

The upside is that I feel free at any time to add flagrant suffixes to words to move them up and down the continuum from adverb to adjective to verb to noun to gerund to infinitive. "To utterly embrace infelicitatious-ocity."

KMiV said...

Hey, what about some of the cuss words? People really misuse them and it cracks me up how some of the nouns are used as adjectives when they shouldn't be. Or when people string cuss words together and none of them relate. Even worse, picture the word and how it doesn't even apply to the object/person/issue.

rich jandt said...

Picturing cuss words. I could belive that was a piece in a modern art show, probably done in water color.