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Subject: Literally does not mean Figuratively rss

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You can't handle the truth?
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It has happened. It is almost a daily occurrence now. I understand that language evolves, but language shouldn't evolve to become meaningless.

Literally: the thing I am about to say I did, I really did.

Figuratively: I didn't really do the thing I are about to say I did. I am just stating it for dramatic effect.

In fact, most people never even use the word figuratively, and it is just implied.

For example, if I said any of the following, most people would know exactly what I meant:

I jumped out of my skin
I was kicked when I was down
I was massacred during that last game of Power Grid.

Unfortunately, there is a trend these days to add the word Literally to these kinds of statements, giving the following new meaning to the word Literally.

Literally: the thing I am about to say I did, I didn't really do, but I am a bit stupid, and don't understand what words really mean. I just heard someone smart use this word one day, and now I say it to sound smart too, but I'm not really smart, I'm just an idiot, so please ignore everything I say.

At least that's how I understand it.

So please, take a stand with me. There may still be time to save it. If you see it being used in this new way, make sure to point it out. Together, we can stop Literally from meaning "not literally".

Let's take it back!
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J J
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Bravo. That is indeed correct usage. And much as I admire correct usage, a) this is for complaints about BGG itself, and b) please post this in places that are far more in need of it, such as the rest of the internet.
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David Peck
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Crambaza, this may just have inspired me to post my Bring/Take rant...
 
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Vincent
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When people do this, they are making a joke. I think they realize it is incorrect, but are having fun with the language.
 
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David Peck
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Vincent, no, they have no idea. Literally. They've heard it mis-used so many times, they think it's OK.
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Ron
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I'll translate this post into German and then report back ... what's literally in German?
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David Peck
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wörtlich
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col_w
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Unfortunately, you're too late. Most major dictionaries have already updated their definitions to include the common usage:

Dictionary.com:
4.
in effect; in substance; very nearly; virtually.
Usage note
Since the early 20th century, literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning “actually, without exaggeration”: The senator was literally buried alive in the Iowa primaries. The parties were literally trading horses in an effort to reach a compromise.The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing. Although this use of literally irritates some, it probably neither distorts nor enhances the intended meaning of the sentences in which it occurs. The same might often be said of the use of literally in its earlier sense “actually”: The garrison was literally wiped out: no one survived.

Merriam-Webster:
1
: in a literal sense or manner : actually
2
: in effect : virtually

Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposite of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead, the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis, but it often appears in contexts where no additional emphasis is necessary.

OED
c. colloq. Used to indicate that some (freq. conventional) metaphorical or hyperbolical expression is to be taken in the strongest admissible sense: ‘virtually, as good as’; (also) ‘completely, utterly, absolutely’.Now one of the most common uses, although often considered irregular in standard English since it reverses the original sense of literally (‘not figuratively or metaphorically’).

See also:
5 words that used to mean the exact opposite: harlot, moot point, egregious, symposium, apology
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Bryan Thunkd
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crambaza wrote:
Unfortunately, there is a trend these days to add the word Literally to these kinds of statements, giving the following new meaning to the word Literally.
Actually it's been part of the dictionary definition for nigh on twenty years now. So while you may not care for it, your idea that it's not what it actually means is wrong. So all this time you've spent looking down on people who "don't know the real meaning of the word" should have been directed at yourself.
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You can't handle the truth?
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Thunkd wrote:
crambaza wrote:
Unfortunately, there is a trend these days to add the word Literally to these kinds of statements, giving the following new meaning to the word Literally.
Actually it's been part of the dictionary definition for nigh on twenty years now. So while you may not care for it, your idea that it's not what it actually means is wrong. So all this time you've spent looking down on people who "don't know the real meaning of the word" should have been directed at yourself.
Just because injustice is accepted by the masses, it doesn't make it right. Even if I am late in my crusade to right this wrong, it doesn't mean I have to stop.

I will not be ruled by the dictionary people!
 
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Russ Williams
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I enjoy the repetition.

(But not literally.)
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Bryan Thunkd
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crambaza wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
crambaza wrote:
Unfortunately, there is a trend these days to add the word Literally to these kinds of statements, giving the following new meaning to the word Literally.
Actually it's been part of the dictionary definition for nigh on twenty years now. So while you may not care for it, your idea that it's not what it actually means is wrong. So all this time you've spent looking down on people who "don't know the real meaning of the word" should have been directed at yourself.
Just because injustice is accepted by the masses, it doesn't make it right. Even if I am late in my crusade to right this wrong, it doesn't mean I have to stop.

I will not be ruled by the dictionary people!
As far as crusades go, I'm not sure that it's a particularly noble cause. People have been using words to mean the exact opposite of the primary definition for as long as I can remember. "You deleted the file and we have to recreate it from scratch? Awesome." There is intangible beauty in language where meanings can emerge that surpass the literal definitions of words. Embrace the ambiguity.
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CHAPEL
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I literally don't care.
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Mc Jarvis
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MWChapel wrote:
I literally don't care.


How ironic.
 
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True Blue Jon
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I literally could care less.
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David Debien
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Move to chit chat in 3...2...1...
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Чебурашка, ты настоящий друг!
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Sydcomebak wrote:
wörtlich


In some contexts, yes, but this use of "literally" is more like "buchstaeblich".
 
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Jacq L
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Dave Slaven
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The reason this battle needs to be fought is because there's no other word that means the same thing as literally. Hence when the original meaning has been drained from the word, we will be left with no convenient way to express the thought that "literally" once did.

--Dave
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David Debien
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slaven41 wrote:
The reason this battle needs to be fought is because there's no other word that means the same thing as literally. Hence when the original meaning has been drained from the word, we will be left with no convenient way to express the thought that "literally" once did.

--Dave


How about "for realz"?
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David Peck
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casualgod wrote:
How about "for realz"?


Somewhere a retired English teacher just died in agony.
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J J
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slaven41 wrote:
The reason this battle needs to be fought is because there's no other word that means the same thing as literally. Hence when the original meaning has been drained from the word, we will be left with no convenient way to express the thought that "literally" once did.

--Dave


Well, yes, but mostly it's a case of, whilst acknowledging that the language evolves and does so to suit our purposes, also acknowledging that there is no acceptable reason for allowing wilful ignorance and plain stupidity to warp the language (whether or not it is warped into nonsensical uselessness); and the misuse of literally is just that.
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Enrico Viglino
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slaven41 wrote:
The reason this battle needs to be fought is because there's no other word that means the same thing as literally. Hence when the original meaning has been drained from the word, we will be left with no convenient way to express the thought that "literally" once did.

--Dave


Meh. Every word has its nuances in different eras.

'Actually' works pretty well as a substitute.
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Mc Jarvis
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slaven41 wrote:
The reason this battle needs to be fought is because there's no other word that means the same thing as literally. Hence when the original meaning has been drained from the word, we will be left with no convenient way to express the thought that "literally" once did.

--Dave


I'd argue that the reason precision is important is because not all listeners/readers will be able to correctly parse whether "literally" is supposed to mean what it really means, or if the speaker literally isn't literally doing what they are actually figuratively doing.

Unless you have a really good stylistic reason to be intentionally confusing, it's better to just be clear in what you're saying.
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Jacq L
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McJarvis wrote:
I'd argue that the reason precision is important is because not all listeners/readers will be able to correctly parse whether "literally" is supposed to mean what it really means, or if the speaker literally isn't literally doing what they are actually figuratively doing.

Unless you have a really good stylistic reason to be intentionally confusing, it's better to just be clear in what you're saying.

I would argue that the people who use "literally" to mean "figuratively" are making very "good" (read: relevant) stylistic decisions with regards to group membership.

If I say "I'm drove off my head with prescriptivists!" - my intention isn't necessarily to be flawlessly precise to every listener, but only my intended audience. If you and I are in a bar in Newfoundland and I say that, there's a very good chance my intention is actually to exclude you from the understanding.

In short, they're literally not talking to you whistle
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