Dear Reality Show Contestant--
I am so glad that you get to follow your dream and grab your 15 minutes of fame by racing around the world, working out with Bob and Jillian, or living on grubs and tapioca on a deserted island. I have only one request of you-- if you want me to watch your show, please don't do what SO MANY of your peers in the reality show world do-- use the world "literally" incorrectly.
Don't get me wrong-- there are plenty of inane things said on reality shows. But this one is so pervasive and such a pet peeve of mine that I am literally ready to turn off the TV the next time I hear it.
So here's a little lesson for you on the world literally. It does not mean "I want to emphasize this thought." It literally means exactly what you said. Thus, "I literally flew out of the room" can only be true if you actually had wings or a small personal aircraft that allowed you to fly. Or "I literally died when I saw that I'd only lost 1 lb" means that you are now a ghost speaking to the camera in your monologue. "I literally carried the whole team to victory" means that you picked them all up and took them across the finish line.
So please, the next time you want to emphasize that you really mean something, please use another word. Really, practically, nearly, virtually are all good substitutes that mean what you are literally trying to say. And in the mean time, I will be literally gritting my teeth while steam practically comes out of my ears when I hear literally used in such an illiterate way.
Someone who can't help but edit everything:)