Literally vs Figuratively

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The misuse of the word ‘literally’ is one of my biggest pet peeves. Literally is when something actually happens. Figuratively is when you are exaggerating, or using a metaphor.

No, seeing your lover with someone else does not ‘literally’ kill you inside. One cannot ‘literally’ blow one’s mind. Unless of course they use a bomb, and in that case, that person wouldn’t be able to say they literally blew their mind anyway, would they?

However, sentences like “seeing my lover with someone else kills me inside” and “you blew my mind” are perfectly acceptable sentences to say. And why is this? Because there is no goddamn literally in there! Those things are being said figuratively! Sure, you could chuck a random ‘figuratively’ in there, like “seeing my lover with someone else figuratively kills me inside” or “you figuratively blew my mind”, but then you’d just look like a smartass. Solution? Don’t put either word in there! Everyone knows you’re not serious! You don’t need to put a word in to tell them that! More importantly, you don’t need to put the wrong word in to change the entire meaning of your sentence into something nonsensical!

So remember, literally = actually. Figuratively = metaphorically.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Some People Just Can’t Speak English | rantings of the ninja robot

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