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Misuse of 'literally'

(108 Posts)
DouzeQuinze Tue 19-Jul-11 18:11:35

It is so annoying!!!

Heard today - "The weight of the world has literally been lifted from my shoulders"...

There have been many instances recently and it really grates on me! Anyone else?!

Fink Wed 20-Jul-11 10:21:25

Yes! This really annoys me!

It's bad enough when people pepper their speech with literally where it might make sense, but it's so much worse when they use it as you've quoted where it doesn't work at all. It's quite pervasive as well, literally everybody in the whole world is doing it nowadays.

[Sympathy hugs]

Malcontentinthemiddle Wed 20-Jul-11 10:35:20

It makes me physically sick when I hear this.....

AMumInScotland Wed 20-Jul-11 11:23:36

Yes and "I literally died laughing" - er, did you really?

RealityAlt0174 Wed 20-Jul-11 11:24:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oakmaiden Wed 20-Jul-11 11:26:27

My son does this. Grrr.

He is not impressed when I tell him he is being metaphoric, and not literal.

And in fairness I have never heard anyone saying that "The weight of the world has been metaphorically lifted from their shoulders".

ShowOfHands Wed 20-Jul-11 11:27:17

I was very surprised that a 100m runner literally exploded out of the blocks t'other day. A tad distracting for the other competitors.

piprabbit Wed 20-Jul-11 11:28:04

The OP reminded me of this song.

ShowOfHands Wed 20-Jul-11 11:29:02

I am ashamed to admit that post studying for my Masters I read a lot of bollocks fiction as an antidote to the heavy going year of classic literature. Penny Vincenzi literally hang your head in shame. She does it once per chapter. I might email her editor and point out the difference between literally and figuratively.

ElfOnTheTopShelf Wed 20-Jul-11 11:29:32

So when should you use literally? Examples please!!

OohThatsMyTractor Wed 20-Jul-11 11:33:21

I agree, it is a very annoying misuse of a word! Although the one that really gets my goat is when people say "off of" eg. He was "off of" London. He wasn't "off of" anything!! He was FROM!!!

It really really irritates me, particularly as I have noticed television presenters and radio dj's using it, I even read it in a magazine the other day!

Argh! Ok, and breathe...

Oakmaiden Wed 20-Jul-11 11:33:46

When you are being well, literal.

I am literally falling aslee...zzzzzzz.

I have literally lost my marbles (you know those round, glass ones). As opposed to figuratively lost my marbles (gone mad).

Better not to use it at all. There is no real need for it.

ShowOfHands Wed 20-Jul-11 11:36:00

Oh yes Ooh. DH likes Radio 1 in the car and they utter 'him off of Eastenders' and the like. I bristle. Literally.

Elf, literally is just flannel anyway. Same as really. But if you literally mean something it's acceptable. You can literally laugh your head off if you wish but if I see a non-severed head, I will judge you.

TheCrackFox Wed 20-Jul-11 11:48:08

I watched the Female World Cup Final on Sunday and Gaby Logan said - "The tentacles of sport have literally reached across the World".

The misuse of of the Word unique is getting annoying, e.g. "He is a little bit unique." Something is either unique or it isn't, there are no shades of grey.

AgonyBeetle Wed 20-Jul-11 11:51:49

Oh yes. Someone started a thread a while back with the title "My blood is literally boiling". I felt obliged to point out that if her blood was literally boiling, she would be dead.


DouzeQuinze Wed 20-Jul-11 12:37:22

grin at ShowOfHands and the severed head.

Glad to find like-minded pedants! I'm sure I'll be back with more examples soon...

hatwoman Wed 20-Jul-11 12:40:07

there's was someone on the Today Programme a few weeks ago, talking about a footballer who "literally lost his head".

it was non-uniform day at school today and dd had literally nothing to wear.

hatwoman Wed 20-Jul-11 12:41:16

"there's was" ??? not a great start to a post on Pedants' Corner...

TrillianAstra Wed 20-Jul-11 19:26:35

On train so can't do it nicely

MrsJamin Wed 20-Jul-11 19:28:12

My favourite use of this was Simon Cowell on American Idol a few years ago: "You're literally singing for your life now"

PfftTheMagicDragonhideGloves Wed 20-Jul-11 19:29:15

It really annoys me.

Marginally more than misuse of decimated.

AgonyBeetle Wed 20-Jul-11 20:42:06

Misuse of 'decimated' always makes me want to start singing this.

nandrin Wed 20-Jul-11 20:56:32

When I was at uni I had a housemate who used literally in almost every sentence! It really annoyed me, especially when my other housemates started doing it aswell! I also find "off of" irritating and people who use "essentially" all the time but what bothers me the most is when people say/write brought instead of bought! I was reading some carseat reviews recently and couldn't believe the number of people who wrote brought when they meant bought.

Wallace Wed 20-Jul-11 21:01:50

I like to misuse literally in conversations for my own amusement.

WiiUnfit Wed 20-Jul-11 21:03:52

The misuse of literally grates on me too, as does the random use of 'actually' - "I actually just laughed" hmm

nandrin yy to 'off of' and 'brought' instead of bought angry

I also dislike "borrow me your X", it is lend me, I lend, you borrow, why do you not get this?

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