"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Word Play


I was given a book as a present last week and I’m enjoying it. It is well-written yet twice in the in the first 50 pages the author, who is otherwise careful with her prose, uses the word “literally” incorrectly. The use of this word, the improper use or the redefined horseshit use, drives me nuts.



I like what Martha Gill suggests–we should just avoid the damn word. Literally.

Categories:  1: Featured  Arts and Culture  Pop Culture

Tags:  literally  word play

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1 thelarmis   ~  Dec 3, 2013 1:39 pm

I literally turn FORTY years old today.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 3, 2013 1:48 pm

I am literally wishing you happy birthday.

3 thelarmis   ~  Dec 3, 2013 1:54 pm

Thanks! (literally.)

4 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Dec 3, 2013 2:16 pm

[1] Well, I'm figuratively still around 40.

5 RIYank   ~  Dec 3, 2013 2:24 pm

[1] Dude, happy day!
Forties make a great decade. Serious.

6 thelarmis   ~  Dec 3, 2013 2:30 pm

[4] Well, I'm still 39 until 5:55pm. I'm clutching at my 30s with every ounce of strength I have!

[5] Thanks, RI! Well, I sure hope so. We'll see...

7 Ben   ~  Dec 3, 2013 2:34 pm

Hey Happy 40th! I'll be joining you soon enough.

8 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 3, 2013 2:43 pm

5) Agreed. Forties is funski so far.

9 ms october   ~  Dec 3, 2013 2:53 pm

how does the definition of a word just change as in the case of literally - it is basically accepted that literally means actually.

10 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 3, 2013 2:54 pm

actually, and basically, are literally abused as well.

Happy birthday, thelarmis, you're almost old enough to play for the Yankees.

11 Sliced Bread   ~  Dec 3, 2013 2:55 pm

9) (see 10) actually, you basically stole my thunder, ms october!

12 Ara Just Fair   ~  Dec 3, 2013 3:12 pm

I make a conscience effort to not use the word literally at all. It drives me fucking nuts. A few of my friends overdo it to such an extent that I literally want to punch them in the face. D'oh!

13 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Dec 3, 2013 3:19 pm

[12] Is that a literally conscious effort?

14 thelarmis   ~  Dec 3, 2013 3:19 pm

Thanks, Sliced!

Ironic, is another term that's butchered.

15 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 3, 2013 3:20 pm

12) Word!

16 Ara Just Fair   ~  Dec 3, 2013 3:46 pm

Oh ffs! I goofed up conscience and conscious! Bollocks!
[13] It was a conscious effort. Now my head hurts.

17 GaryfromChevyChase   ~  Dec 3, 2013 4:27 pm

Alex - fun game to play; Thanx

18 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 3, 2013 4:49 pm

The use of the term, "Really?" is irritating too. Ditto, "Seriously?" Every TV comedy or movie comedy seems to fall back on these two expressions to the point that they are played out.

"At the end of the day" can fuck off as well.

19 thelarmis   ~  Dec 3, 2013 4:58 pm

i kinda dig "Really?!", when it's sarcastic.

i can't stand the phrase "as good as anyone". Robbie is as good as anyone in the game. So...he's as good as Chris Stewart? good to know...

btw, M's are seriously interested in Cano...

20 RIYank   ~  Dec 3, 2013 5:12 pm

I may regret weighing in on this, but: pretty nearly every dictionary now recognizes the sense of 'literally' that's hyperbolic (that's maybe an oversimplification, but essentially right). The OED has a citation from 1769. And people have been complaining about it for over a century, but, obviously, to no avail. So, in my opinion, it's over, folks. That's now one of the meanings.

You don't have to like it!

21 Start Spreading the News   ~  Dec 3, 2013 6:54 pm

I am mostly irked by the "its" vs "it's" screwup. It happens all too often.

I am usually amused by the misuse of quotes where it is used to emphasize.

22 seamus   ~  Dec 3, 2013 8:50 pm

Happy Birthday thelarmis!! I was going to say that i popped in randomly but I remembered that I came to see what folks have to say about Ellsbury.

23 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Dec 3, 2013 8:57 pm

Happy B-Day thelarmis!!

Think I've hit this one before but nothing 'gets my goat' more than people puttin 'a' before names. As in 'The Yanks, if they don't sigh Cano, they have the money for a Jacoby Ellsbury, a Player X' etc etc. Excruciating to listen to for some reason.

24 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 3, 2013 9:23 pm

20) And it's one thing for people to misuse the word in everyday speech and another thing for bright, gifted writers to use it and clutter up their work.

25 RIYank   ~  Dec 3, 2013 9:27 pm

[24] The 1769 OED citation is from a high-brow epistolary novel.

Just sayin'.

26 thelarmis   ~  Dec 4, 2013 1:36 am

thanks seamus and jazz tokyo! : )

27 Boatzilla   ~  Dec 4, 2013 5:40 am

What gets my goat is constant and willful misuse of "podium." You can not stand at a podium or behind a podium (unless you are the stage crew). It's a goddamn LECTERN fer chrissakes!

Lectern is a perfectly useful and lovely word to describe what it is that most people stand BEHIND and leave their notes on while giving a speech.

They can stand ON a podium or around a dais. There could even be a lectern on a podium.

But alas, dictionaries are bending now to include the lectern meaning in podium.


28 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Dec 4, 2013 9:19 am

Literally back in the day absolutely meaningless.

Happy Birthday thelarmis! At 40, you can still do it all, and be smart enough to do it.

29 Alex Belth   ~  Dec 4, 2013 11:22 am

27) I didn't know that. Thanks for the education, brother.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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