Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Literal Note to Reality TV

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.

Sincerely,

Someone who can't help but edit everything:)

8 comments:

Amy said...

Great post...you literally made me smile... as always. :)

Molly said...

That drives me crazy too! I'm glad I'm not the only one. Oh, and when people use apostrophes incorrectly. I HATE that one.

Michal said...

Ah, yes. Apostrophes. My kids are so tired of my rants about apostrophes.;)

Yvonne said...

This too, LITERALLY drives me crazy! OK, not quite crazy, just on the verge of crazy seeing as how I have not been locked up, yet!

You are as insightful as always.

Rebecca said...

AMEN!

That is one of my very biggest pet peeves!

Robyn{Lee} said...

Haha, love this!!! : )

NobodyofGreatImport said...

do a post like this on the made up word "irregardless". That one grates on me like fingernails on chalkboards.... like metal bowls on wire whisks... like a daily presidential press conference...

Tyler said...

If you don't subscribe to this podcast you need to......but unfortunately they drill linguistic holes through your argument so be prepared to eat some crow. http://www.waywordradio.org/