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Post Reply Improper use of the word "literally"
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15 / F / A state of content
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Posted 7/18/15
Now, I'm sure you've heard English nerds, Grammar Nazis and smart alecks alike complain time and time again about this. However, my complaint isn't about the most common misuse of it. (using it as an extreme exaggerator: example-- "It's literally 0 degrees outside omigosh" While it's actually 25 degrees) It's about using it with things it doesn't even make sense with. Example: "He literally ate." Like, how does that even make sense to people? He literally ate? As opposed to figuratively eating? How does one even figuratively eat?

Anyway, I wanna hear your guys' thoughts on this. I feel like I may be one of the only people who has actually payed attention to this, but I'm probably wrong. You can also talk about other improper uses of this word, although I doubt that there are any more that I haven't mentioned.
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26 / M / Houma
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Posted 7/18/15
I eat running backs who come through the A gap, or at least I used to.

Did I literally devour speedy 220lb muscular men? Of course not.
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20 / F / I don't know T_T
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Posted 7/18/15
Yeah, I've noticed that too sometimes. Unless Western people stop speaking in slang then this stuff will never disappear.
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24 / M
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Posted 7/18/15
It makes me so mad I could literally explode...

Yes, I am literally a grammar nazi
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52 / M / Bay Area
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Posted 7/18/15
its going to get worse before better with twitter and texting younger generation makes up word because of only 220 characters or dont want to take time to communicate
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M / Fort Bragg, NC
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Posted 7/18/15

GreatLordBalzak wrote:

I eat running backs who come through the A gap, or at least I used to.

Did I literally devour speedy 220lb muscular men? Of course not.


Yes you do, don't lie
Posted 7/18/15 , edited 7/18/15
You can figuratively eat - for example, eating your words, or "eating it" as they say when falling over. "He literally ate" is an odd phrase, but just put an object in there and I think it could make sense. For example, "He literally ate dirt", as opposed to colloquially "eating dirt."

I notice it when people use "literally" in odd ways, but I don't pay it much mind. Unless we're talking about formal writing, in which case improper use of words, incorrect spelling, and poor grammar are all things that really stick out to me. Usually because I feel so embarrassed for the person who made the mistake lol.

But i've never been a stickler for these kinds of things. Everyone makes mistakes. So long as I can understand you, i'm fine.

However, i'm far more strict toward people who are close to me. I don't want my friends and family embarrassing themselves (or me).
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24 / M / Ohio, USA
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Posted 7/18/15
I for some reason don't use the word "literally".

I even try to not use the word "like", though I fail miserably.
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26 / M / Houma
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Posted 7/18/15

Gyava wrote:


GreatLordBalzak wrote:

I eat running backs who come through the A gap, or at least I used to.

Did I literally devour speedy 220lb muscular men? Of course not.


Yes you do, don't lie


Only when I transform, but that isn't me anymore is it?
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13 / F / California
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Posted 7/18/15
Isn't it paid not payed? We aren't sailing away here.

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21 / F / Southern US
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Posted 7/18/15
Language evolves over time, and that is perfectly fine - really, there is no right or wrong when it comes to language, only standard and non-standard. The use of "literally" to mean "figuratively" is a bit of a complication so long as we don't have other ways to more reliably convey the thought, but it isn't a major complication - people will generally understand given the context.

Literally is used as an intensive, as well, as you pointed out. In that sense, I can understand it being in a sentence like "he literally ate," in some circumstances. "He literally ate my sandwich!" would be similar to saying, "he f***ing ate my sandwich!" which is a perfectly understandable phrase. Literally and f***ing both serve as intensives, there.
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20 / M
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Posted 7/18/15 , edited 7/20/15
I literally agree. There are tons of people that literally don't know what they're saying. It sounds so stupid that it's literally going to kill me.
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Posted 7/18/15 , edited 7/18/15
If you want the ultimate-intensifier adverb to spice up the degree of your sentence, try the safer "Virtually". ("This was virtually my worst day ever!")
That usage suggests that you imagine it could live up to the extreme standards you're describing, even if you know it really doesn't--As opposed to "Literally", which is to suggest that it actually did. (Ie "This was literally my worst day ever!" would mean you counted all 7000 days since you were born.)

And no, it doesn't mean computer things with helmets, either.
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19 / M / Colorado
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Posted 7/18/15

Akumanomi wrote:

I feel like I may be one of the only people who has actually payed attention to this, but I'm probably wrong.


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19 / M / US
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Posted 7/18/15
I couldn't care less.
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