Category Archives: Grammar Gripe

Grammar Gripe: I’m Literally Going to Kill You

No I’m not, but, one would only realize this if they understood what literally actually meant. Turns out, most people use it to LITERALLY mean the opposite of what it does. Let’s review, shall we?

Dictionary.com

lit·er·al·ly –  actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy

fig·ur·a·tive – of the nature of or involving a figure of speech,  especially a metaphor

In plain language, by saying something literally happened you are saying this is EXACTLY what happened. So, I am going to make a few assumptions. By virtue of the fact that you’re reading this, you have never literally died from anything, including embarrassment, fright, or sadness; your head has never literally exploded due to anger; your heart has never literally been broken (With the exception of someone who is reading this and has had some sort of heart surgery, I will give you that one); and you have probably never even wanted to literally murder anyone. Now, shamefully think about all the times you have said those things.

Literally saved by the bell.

See what I’m going for here people? These things happen figuratively, but people think that by saying “literally” (often pronounced liiiiiiiiiterally) that they’re stressing how extreme the situation is. Doesn’t work that way. I read one today on a LinkedIn profile: “I literally fell into public relations.” Really? You fell into a big bucket of PR, did you? Honestly, as someone who works in PR, I can’t imagine using this on my casual Facebook page, let alone my professional LinkedIn profile.

Yes, I know what you are trying to do, but think about the fact that you sound like a blowhard illiterate. There, I said it! Knowing the definitions of words is part of being educated, if you don’t know the definition of a word, don’t use it. This is something I have to regularly tell the college students whose papers I grade. It’s embarrassing.

Next time you want to throw out the L-word, take a step back and imagine the scenario in your head as if it’s actually happening. If someone’s pants aren’t literally on fire because they lied to you, just leave the word literally out of the equation. It’s tired of being misused and figuratively is annoyed at the lack of credit we give him.

Amy’s Grammar Gripe of the Week!

I need to get back on the blogging train and what better way than to launch a series about my favorite topic in the world – grammar!!! (Pause to let the applause die down.) I’m not sure if other languages are deteriorating like English is, but it’s dreadful. I have started freelancing as a writing tutor for an online tutoring company and I grade college papers that are barely comprehensible. These are college papers written by high school graduates! Come on, ‘MERIKAH! Now that the BF has grown tired of me bitching about people’s grammar eff ups, I will vent weekly on the blog. Lucky you.

This Week’s Gripe: Back to Back

This saying makes zero sense. Saying back-to-back episodes, back-to-back championships, etc. is really the exact opposite of what you’re trying to say. If you’re watching two episodes in a row of the same TV show, aren’t you ending the first one (back) right before the start (front) of the second one. If the episodes were truly back to back, you would be watching the second episode starting from the end and going in reverse! Same with championships. If a team wins two championships in a row, do they really have back-to-back seasons? Nope.com.

Now, even more offensive than B2B is the atrocious back to back to back! WHAT?! Let me illustrate to you what B2B looks like and you tell me where you’re going to make that third back fit.

Unless Bill or Bobby grows a second back, there is no way to fit another back in there. Three episodes in a row is back to front squared.

So, just stop it.

This has been the first edition of Amy’s Grammar Gripe!

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