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.


TAGS: languageenglishgrammarliterallyfiguratively


AUTHOR: stíobhart matulevicz

LAST MODIFIED: 25 Apr 2020  — REASON: "extract asciidoc preamble into separate file and include it"

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