27 May 2005
Why Do They Say 'Literally' When They Mean 'Figuratively'?
“It literally drives me insane”
This seems to be a disease endemic amongst the journalistic classes, but seems particularly prevalent amongst sports commentators.
- "…He quite literally skinned the defender…"
- "…the keeper literally performed miracles between the sticks…"
- "…the whole town of Aintree quite literally comes to a standstill for this race…"
- "…he’s literally been driving by the seat of his pants for the past two laps…"
and so on and so forth. Such sloppy grammar. And coming from people who are presumably hired for some supposed ability to string two words together in a semi-coherent fashion, it has me quite figuratively tearing my hair out every time I hear it.