Pop Culture Has Messed Up the Dictionary
So how do you use the word “literally?”
In the literal sense? That would be the correct way. But it’s become so common to use the word incorrectly, it’s hard to think of an example of what the correct way would be!
How about this. “I literally ran into your sister this morning,” meaning I bumped into her and maybe knocked her down, or possibly crashed my car into her car. Literal meanings are actual and not figurative. You mean it exactly as you say it.
But not anymore!
The Daily Mail says, the dictionary says that literally means ‘in a literal way or sense’ but has added an additional meaning now that we’ve been messing it up for so many years.
We’ve heard it misused so many times we’re almost numb to it. “I literally turned the house upside down trying to find my lost keys.” No you didn’t. The house is still right side up.
The dictionary now also says that when used informally, it can be “used for emphasis rather than being actually true.”
Pop culture has screwed up the dictionary! All of those haters who cringe when people misuse the word “literally” might start a riot, or write their Congressman.
Don’t the definitions conflict now? “Literally” can now be either the literal truth, or a well-emphasized lie it seems.
The English language is so confusing.