Sunday, 19 June 2016

Literally Speaking …

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It irritates me when people use “literally” without even knowing the correct meaning of the adverb! Simply put, “literally” means “exactly as it really happened”. Many idiots do not know the difference between “literally” and “figuratively” (metaphorically).

Most of the time, these idiots either use “literally” to replace “figuratively”, or they use “literally” in a sentence which does not need the adverb at all.

For example: “It rained cats and dogs” has a figurative meaning, not a literal meaning.

Some idiots say “It literally rained cats and dogs” when describing a heavy rain. These idiots do not know that “It literally rained cats and dogs” means cats and dogs actually (really) fell from the sky!


The theatrical slang “break a leg” means “good luck”. But if you say “Go on stage and literally break a leg”, it means you want that person to actually break his/her leg while performing on stage!

If you say “Satees licks Ramasamy’s boots”, it means Satees would do anything to please Ramasamy. But if you say “Satees literally licks Ramasamy’s boots”, it means Satees actually (really) licks the boots (shoes)!

Many idiots say “I literally forgot to call you yesterday” because they think “literally” is just another word for “really”.

You use “literally” in front of a phrase which has a figurative meaning to stress that you are referring to the literal meaning, not the metaphorical meaning.

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“I was literally rolling on the floor laughing” means exactly that: you were really rolling on the floor and laughing.

But if you were to say (or write) “I was rolling on the floor laughing” (or ROFL), you simply mean to express that something was very funny. You might have not even actually laughed, but you just want to say figuratively that something was very funny.

Same goes if you say/write “I’ll literally LOL to that”. Unless you really intend to “laugh out loud” (LOL), just say/write “I’ll LOL to that”.

“He started hitting on her” figuratively means the guy started to directly show the girl that he was attracted to her.

But if “he literally started hitting on her”, it means he was actually harming her physically!

“Let’s paint the town red” means you want to go out and party all night. But if you say “Let’s literally paint the town red”, you really want to use some red paint and brush, and paint the walls, buildings etcetera.

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You do not say “I am literally in love with him” unless “in love with him” has another figurative meaning.

You do not say “They are literally homeless” unless “homeless” has some other figurative meaning.

You do not say “I am literally tired” or “I am literally excited” because “tired” and “excited” do not have some other figurative meaning in this context.

You may say “I literally got him off the hook” if that is exactly what you did. But if you did something to get someone out of trouble, you should say “I got him off the hook”.

“I am so hungry, I could eat a horse” has a figurative meaning that you want to eat a lot of food, but “I am so hungry, I could literally eat a horse” means you are really willing to eat a horse.