The misuse of the word “literally” has gotten out of hand. It’s everywhere. Even in the media and printed materials. Ever since I have had discussions about this with friends, we’ve all suddenly become attuned to it and have started noticing how rampant it is. It’s like when Roddy Piper got those sunglasses in “They Live!” and could suddenly see all the aliens or whatever they were. People say things like “It literally blew my mind!” Umm, no it didn’t. I know this from the fact that they were standing there telling me this.
Two recent observances that really stuck out to me were in video game related materials. In an ad for the Super Smash Brothers Brawl game it said “…literally anything can happen, and usually does!” Wow, that’s some serious technology they’ve developed there. So it’s totally possible and in fact likely that I could be playing the game and suddenly see Dennis De Young from Styx fly in on a half-dolphin, half-bagel creature with purple monkeys flying out his butt.
In a review of Assassin’s Creed on gamespot.com the reviewer mentioned how the game’s atmosphere was so great that it was “…literally a living, breathing world.” Again, I really had no idea this kind of technology existed! They should really let some top scientists study this stuff!
We have friends who use this word in what seems like every other sentence. It seems like they just use it for unnecessary emphasis or something like, “I was like, literally, just sitting there eating my dinner…” Really? I’m glad you specified because I thought you meant it figuratively. You know, that old colloquial saying, “eating my dinner” meaning that you were building a wooden effigy of the Bee Gees.