Monday, July 18, 2011


ok folks... don't know why this gets under my skin a bit, but misusing the word "literally" is really unnecessary.  so sure, you know and i know it means "actually" or "non-figuratively", but to me it's more than that.

here goes... jimbarry's 3 rules for using the word "literally".

rule #1:  what you said must be true in actuality, based on the common and standard definitions of the phrase "literally" is modifying.

my eyes were literally pinned to the tv.  
ouch, no 
(no kidding, i once found this one on as a *proper* use of literally)

rule #2:  the phrase you just said is quite often used figuratively.

it's literally so cold in here.  
ok so it is, but that's not normally a figurative expression. 
(i overheard someone say this while sitting at an airport gate)

rule #3:  there's a reasonable chance that the person you're talking to might not know whether you mean it literally or figuratively.

i literally just took out the trash.  
good, if you work at a bar and the person you're talking to didn't see you toss empties into the dumpster out back versus toss drunks onto the sidewalk out front. 
(this one i just made up)

so... in the end, if what you're going to say doesn't fit all three rules, there's really no need to use the word literally.  i really don't know how it became this general intensifier, but you don't need it to sound more serious.  

how about this:
if you've got a good point, we'll get it.  
and if you're full of it, we probably already know.

comic unmaliciously yet still improperly lifted from without expressed permission from them nor major league baseball.

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