Day 193: What’s Going On With The Word “Literally?”

I have not lived in the US for 3,5 years.  I swear when I left, everything was going along fine.  Now, two things are happening there, and they show that the country must be in complete anarchy: 1) Donald Trump is a front runner as a presidential candidate. 2) the word “literally” is being used with complete abandon for what it really means.

The first one, about Trump, is too big for me to tackle, so I will leave it alone.  But the second one, about how the word “literally” is being used, is something I will tackle.  

So here’s the deal: it seems from watching Bachelor In Paradise that the word “literally” is being used haphazardly.  I can only assume the people on the show are representing America in the fullest, so naturally it means that every Tom, Dick, and Harry is also using the word incorrectly.  Let me give you a few examples of how it’s being used:

  • “I, like, literally think she has a hard decision to make.”  
  • “There’s like literally so many crabs here in the sand.”
  • “She literally needs to talk to him.”

I could give, like, literally a lot more examples, but I like literally don’t know if you need any more.

Here’s the thing: none of those examples use “literally” correctly.  The correct use would be to remember that a literal reading of something is to take something at it’s most basic understanding, almost using word-for-word meaning and not considering context, etc. So if you said, “I literally can’t talk to this person” (because they speak Italian and you speak English), then you used the word / expression correctly.  

The word is so specific in it’s meaning that it drives me crazy that it’s not being used correctly on both reality tv and regular conversation in America.  It, like literally bugs me. 😉

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