my grammar could hit the target from that distance

The revolution has begun. No longer will we put up with dodgy speeling, misplaced apostrophes' or improper; punctuation? P.S. pointing out bad grammar in postings is banned. To justify this I'm applying a form of grammatical 'absolute privilege', as the public interest in publishing mistakes far outweighs the cost to the public of making further mistakes. Call me a hypocrite if you will, but it works in Westminster.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Literally

A tangent post as this is something that I'm a big fan of - use of the word literally when you mean the exact opposite. I think my love for it came from Geordie's loud (and possibly drunken) screams of abuse at a judge at the Mirror Awards who said they were 'literally swamped with entries this year".

This is going to be a continuing post, so add your own spots in the comments bit and I'll link it on the front page.

I'll get things going with a few of my favourites that have made me laugh my head off, literally.

  • "I literally hovered round the newsroom all day" (visiting ITV journalist at CJS).
  • "Gareth Jenkins has Llanelli literally running through his veins" (script of a local radio journalist, half an hour after I had had a rant about improper use of the word literally. I've got photographic evidence of this one, but it seems too cruel).
  • "When the true details of Iraq came to light, the government found the wheels literally came off" (a JOMEC professor, but not J-Lew).

33 Comments:

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Geordie said...

Loud, definitely drunken, and somewhat lengthy.

At a Media Awards ceremony for fuck's sake.

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Robbie Lane said...

You literally gave her a piece of your mind.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger Geordie said...

No, that was phlegm.

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Jimbo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger Jimbo said...

"When you misuse the word 'literally', you COMPLETELY fucking misuse it. When you fuck that up, you fuck it up so bad... It's not like a little goof, like you said 'penultimate' and you meant 'ultimate'. You COMPLETELY fucking misuse it, and you should stop using the word FOREVER until you fucking figure it out."

-- David Cross

 
At 4:24 AM, Blogger Geordie said...

Amen.

 
At 4:49 AM, Blogger Robbie Lane said...

We're not alone brothers (and sisters)

http://literally.barelyfitz.com/

 
At 3:31 PM, Blogger alienvoord said...

“literally” has been used as an intensifier for figurative expressions since the 18th century. So if it's wrong who knows what else we're getting wrong.

http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002611.html

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger Robbie Lane said...

Slavery's been going strong for years - I wouldn't say that makes it right. And yes, I am comparing misuse of the word 'literally' to slavery.

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger alienvoord said...

So is "literally" the only word in English we're not allowed to use figuratively?

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Robbie Lane said...

Eh? Sorry alienvoord, this has got way too confusing and academic for me. Anyway, heard a good'n this morning on BBC Breakfast. One of their Marias (not Martock's Maria I'm afraid, Gary) said she had literally been picked up and dropped into the show. I snorted milk out of my nose.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger alienvoord said...

"literally" is used figuratively. What's wrong with using words figuratively?

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Robbie Lane said...

Surely when you say 'literally' you mean that what you're saying isn't figurative? Using it figuratively just makes it confusing when you're trying to say that something isn't figurative. Maybe.

 
At 8:21 AM, Blogger alienvoord said...

Is it really confusing, tho? Do you really get confused when you hear someone use "literally" as a figurative intensifier? This is a sincere question.

 
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At 2:05 PM, Blogger That Guy said...

Sportscasters do this all the time.

"Bret Favre has literally had another worldly performance."

"People are literally dying to get into the new stadium."

"Clinton Portis is literally running out of gas."

They try to emphasize something figuratively with a word that means exactly the opposite...literally!

People are STOOP!

good talk

 
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