Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Knock It Off With the Literally

As you know, here at U by C we feel correct English grammar and usage are important. Tonight I start a series of posts highlighting some common sins against good English. If you feel a sense of deja vu it's because I've written about this stuff before. More needs to be said, though. Call it venting. Call it my attempt to raise awareness. I understand the futility of expecting anyone to improve as a result of a few silly little blog posts. I still have to write this, because people are getting UNDER MY SKIN!

From Snorg Tees

How can so many people fail to realize how stupid they sound saying literally when they mean to say virtually, seemingly, or practically? Even educated, generally articulate people are making this blunder.

No, you idiot, you were not literally blown away by the announcement. You're still standing there.

Don't tell me you will literally die if you have to suffer through one more day of [insert unpleasant situation]. I'm almost certain you'll survive.

There are plenty of ways to add emphasis without claiming something actually happened in a literal sense, when everyone knows this is not the case.

During a recent interview about her role in the musical Rock of Ages, professional dancer-singer-actress-airhead Julianne Hough said:

"Well, what I love about '80s rock music is the amazing, fantastic melodies. In pop music, it's all about the techno beat to dance to in the club and the repetitiveness, whereas in rock music there is literally, like, balls-to-the-wall singing and playing. I love it."

Ms. Hough, the balls-to-the-wall idiom started with aircraft throttle levers or steam engine governors... something like that. Nevermind. It's evolved now into a metaphorical expression. That is, unless you use it literally. Do you mean to say in rock music there are actually balls against a wall, and that's what you love about it?

You're doing people a disservice with these statements. Flula, for example, is a German man trying to master English, and dingbats like you are not making it easy.

In the near future I'll write about other stupid expressions I wish people would quit using. Because some of these, like, literally drive me insane.

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