He is literally this, she literally said that, this thing is literally X!
Please abandon the lazy abuse of the word “literally.” I hereby grant thee, Dear Reader, permission to bitchslap the next three people who misuse the term “literally” if you point them to this post. Make it a good one.
Consider the following (authentic) quote:
“I notice that the correlation between anti-feminist women and literally pro-Fascist women (see her T-shirt) remains strong.”
… as opposed to a figuratively pro-Fascist woman?
If one asserts something, we expect a literal meaning, not a figurative one, unless a metaphor or allegory is self-evident.
People seem to use the word literally as though it is supposed to be a shockingly effective emphasis for a point. One can see the wide-eyed, slack-jawed ignoramuses’ nodding, fuelled by the childishly shocked awe of something that they don’t fully understand: reality. “This mouse is dead! It is literally dead! Like, for true! Like, for really, really real! It’s literally, literally dead!”
If speaking of what is, directly and unequivocally, is emphasis due to the fact that it is not figurative, what does that make the rest of your speech? How watered down must ones mind be?
See my next article entitled “Word slut: how the promiscuous abuse of words exposes you.”