I’m not sure why people are obsessed with using the word literally. Maybe it’s because we’ve become a society of dramatics like me, so they feel the need to make sure people they the are being serious. This word is grossly overused and it needs to stop. Now.
The correct definition of “literally” is to describe something in a literal sense and without exaggeration. But many people often use the word to do the opposite—add emphasis or describe something in a way that can’t possibly be true.
• “I literally died of embarrassment.”
• “I’m literally insane with jealousy over her shoes.”
• “The puppy was so cute I literally exploded from excitement.”
But unfortunately for communicators, this informal use of “literally” is becoming more mainstream. It is used so often, in fact, that several dictionaries have added it as part of the word’s official definition. Google, Merriam-Webster and Macmillan Dictionary have all included this informal definition. I can’t stand it. Be better, Dictionary!
Literally Shown The Door
It turns out, I’m not the only one who is sick of this overuse. In January, a New York bar decided to ban people who use the word literally while inside the establishment. He posted a sign saying if you used it in while in the bar, you had two minutes to finish your drink and leave. If you start a sentence with it, you have to leave immediately. Seems extreme, but I’m also kind of into it. LOL
Currently, the English language contains 171,476 words. Of course, some of these words are the mainstream non-words I’ve discussed in this and a previous video, so this number isn’t totally accurate per my Queen of Words reign. 🙂 Despite analyzation inaccuracy of the number, we have quite a few words to choose. So why are we consistently using the same boring, ineffectual word on repeat?
Have you paid attention to how frequently you use the word literally?