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Writer's Block: Peevish

Too many LJers to list have submitted this question—what is your biggest pet peeve?
It's not my biggest one, but the  misuse of  the word "literally" is way up there. For instance, if someone says "My boss literally bit my head off" the only proper response is "No he didn't. You still have a head." Any other misuse of words  you can write off as an idiom or a colloquialism. But the word "literally" means "do not take what I'm about to say as idiom, colloquialism, or metaphor."

I saw a book in the bookstore today called Literally, The Best Language Book Ever.  "At last," I thought "somebody is finally reading the riot act to these idiots ." Indeed they did, but I was a bit disappointed in the way they did it. This particular sin against language was in a chapter on grammar errors. Misusing "literally" is usually not a grammar error. In my example above, the word is used exactly where an adverb should be used. It's just not the right adverb.It's a usage error. That's why it's called misUSING the word. *Sigh*


This reminds me of some funny kids' mistakes from a music teacher who collected them.

One student was assigned to write a review of a band performance he attended, and he said: "The trumpets literally blew me away!"

Some weird images crossed my mind...:D

Edited at 2009-01-28 05:17 am (UTC)