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Literally or Not

You have words - now what do you do with them?

Literally or Not

Postby Slava » Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:26 pm

The theme of this section is "You have words - now what do you do with them?" Here's an article on the use of literally:

https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/1a82337f14a7
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:04 pm

Well, you could literally arrange them in sentences...
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Aug 28, 2013 1:05 am

I still have trouble when someone says things like, "I literally fell out of my chair." I am tempted to ask, "Did it hurt?"

I literally reread “The Great Gatsby” last night and noticed, “But there was a change in Gatsby that was simply confounding. He literally glowed…” I read it because some friends were discussing the book and I wanted to confirm my previous impression of what a nothing novel it is. Literally nothing interesting or believable happens in the book. I can’t understand why it was so popular. It is literally one trite event after the other with sound and fury definitely signifying nothing; to paraphrase Macbeth.
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby Slava » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:29 pm

I just came across this post from the Oxford Dictionaries Online blogs. As it fits the bill, I thought I'd add it to the pot.
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby gailr » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:46 pm

That article totally throws light on this topic. 8)

English is very much a work in progress, with firm, traditional rules sometimes revealed as being "more honor'd in the breach than the observance." It seems that hyperbole has literally been with us since communication began.
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby bnjtokyo » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:29 am

As Gailr points out the cited uses of "literally" are examples of hyperbole, a rhetorical device that seeks to create a strong impression and, according to Wikipedia, "is not meant to be take literally."
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:23 pm

Also Relevant is my addition to the discussion of 'selfie' today.
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:03 am

We are not to take literally literally? That's literally Orwellian Newspeak.
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby Slava » Mon May 05, 2014 9:24 pm

For those who are tired of the overuse and misuse of literally, there is now a browser add-on (Chrome only, so far) that literally changes literally to figuratively.

Here's a link to an article about it.
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby DerekB » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:50 pm

I completely accept that languages and meaning can change over time. "Literally" is one of many words that have become debased over time. I have my favourites that annoy me most and these are ones where numeric values have changed such as "decimate" = "reduce by one tenth" which is now used as "reduce by a considerable amount and possibly close to 'eliminate'"; "annihilate" = "reduce to nothing", now synonymous with the new meaning of "decimate". From a British perspective, I now have to use "billion" as meaning a mere thousand million instead of the million million it meant when I was young. I wonder how long it will take before "ten" really means "five" in current usage.
I see that "literally" appears as "buchstäblich" in the German-language press. This can be taken to mean "letter by letter" or "literally". It used as loosely there as in English publications.
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby Slava » Sun Nov 02, 2014 7:52 pm

Literally, another addition to the debate on literally: http://www.theguardian.com/media/mind-y ... -literally
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Re: Literally or Not

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sun Nov 02, 2014 8:06 pm

When will. Ten be five? Dunno. But my wife as teacher and I as social worker both made a little over $3600/yr in 1960 and lived comfortably. So. $1 has become at least $10 over the years, and more likely $15.
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