Recently, I have made an observation that irks me immensely. So immensely does it irk me that I would gladly have forfeited the original observation just to be rid of the damn thing altogether! I don't know if this is the fault of texting, or instant messenging or computers or Al Gore but I have noticed that people--mostly young adults--seem to have lost the original translation of the word, "literally."
Now, I'm going to make up some history to explain my point.
You see back in uh... Egyptian times the word 'literally' meant something to the effect of, 'in a very strict sense.' This way, when the little servant dude ran into the Pharaoh's court, bowed, struck his breast and declared--
"Great Pharaoh, reign forever! Your chariot has been trampled under the hoofs of a thousand pre-historic elephants! It has literally been flattened into a single piece of iron no longer fit for your royal transport!"
--Pharaoh, time-conscious prude that he was, didn't need to be all like,
"Whaaaa? Like fo really, really?"
Cause he knew servant dude wasn't playing around. He said literally, which back then meant 'I have already qualified what I said, please continue with the appropriate emotional response.'
Today, in an effort to further waste my precious time, the people who most frequently use the word 'literally' use it with the expectation that I then should have to inquire if by 'literally' they meant 'lit-er-ally' or nothing of the sort. This is a step I find all too annoying and redundant. This is a step I find all too annoying and redundant.
See what I did there? Precisely. Now, I rant:
If you, the speaker take it upon yourself to use the word 'literally,' why is it then MY responsibility to follow up to make sure that I understand correctly what YOU meant to say? This is ridiculous. Widen your vocabulary. The movie didn't make you literally cry your eyes out. You still have your eyeballs and they are in your head. The movie made you cry a lot -- say that! This way I can go back to being genuinely enthralled in a story that utilizes a word that in short means 'THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED." Otherwise you are robbing me of the visuals that inevitably accompany your statement.
Therefore, the next time someone yells,
"Oh my god, I was so mad, I like literally-shit a brick!"
You ask that jackass for proof.