|Image [cc] Goldberg|
Turns out that the word literally has a second meaning:
2. Used to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feelings.
For the past few decades, I've been wincing every time I've heard my Mom say things like:
… and when she found out how much it cost, it literally killed her.
… my head literally exploded when I heard the news.
… that literally blew her mind!!
Not only does this news make me a bad son, it also makes one of my favorite quotes from the TV show Psych, slightly less funny:
Juliet O'Hara: Detective Lassiter is literally on fire today.Shawn Spencer: "Literally on fire" as in Michael Jackson in the Pepsi commercial, or as in a misuse of the word "literally?"
Let this be a warning for all you grammar police out there (many of whom I apparently see on social networks pointing out the proper place to put an apostrophe on major holidays.) Be very careful on pointing out the grammatical errors of others. It could literally come back to bite you!