It is the literal truth that there are literally a multitude of disputes amongst linguists as to whether using literally to merely emphasize what it refers to is acceptable or not.
A number of style guides accept literally in the emphatic sense when used informally (as opposed to the literal sense) provided that this additional emphasis is actually required.
In formal writing, use literally in its exact sense — and exactly what is said.
|Consider the following:|
|The party literally went off with a bang.
Only if there was an actual loud noise!
|The party went off with a bang.
The party was great!
|I literally ran more than 25 miles today.
I ran a marathon.
|I ran more than 25 miles today.
A more accurate sentence that isn’t dressed up with emphasis.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com|
|Part of Grammar:|
Plural for noun: literals
Taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory
[Of a translation] Representing the exact words of the original text
[Also literal-minded; of a person or performance] Lacking imagination
Of, in, or expressed by a letter or the letters of the alphabet
|In a literal manner or sense
[Informal] Used in an exaggerated way to emphasize a statement or description that is not literally true or possible
The storm is quite thunderous.
Janni’s marriage was fifteen years of literal hell.
You asked for a literal translation; that’s what I’ve given you.
I can’t believe how literal your representation is of our farm.
She is quite literal-minded without any imagination.
Literal mnemonics are abbreviations or letters which are easily associated with the name of a subject, i.e., H is for History, A is for Arts, and F is for Fiction.
Check endnote 19 to verify if Pest is a literal for Peat.
|The driver took it literally when asked to go straight across the traffic circle.
Tiramisu is literally translated as pick me up.
He took her comment literally.
The party was attended by literally hundreds of people.
The story was basically true, even if not literally true.
He never did appear where she could see him. Ever.
I have received literally thousands of letters.
They bought the car and literally ran it into the ground.
He will literally tear the house apart looking for his cellphone.
We were literally killing ourselves laughing.
|Adjective: literalistic, nonliteral, overliteral
Noun: literalism, literalist, literality, literalness, nonliteralness
|History of the Word:|
|Late Middle English from the Old French or from the late Latin litteralis, which is from the Latin littera.||1525-35 literal + -ly.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!
Pinterest Photo Credits:
“Best Friends“, which is courtesy of Pinterest.