Boundbytheword Blog

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Does it literally drive you crazy? August 19, 2011

Filed under: What's Up? — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 10:02 AM
Tags: , , , ,


I drove home the other night and listened to a radio talk show (Q) where they discussed the usage of the word “literally”. Or, more specifically, they discussed the misuse of the word. Being a frequent user of this word, I was surprised to find out it irks people to hear the word in a sentence like “When I saw him walk in I was literally frozen to the spot”.


I use the word literally like I use the word totally. I obviously was not frozen like ice, unable to move until I melted like a Popsicle in the sun, rather I was so stunned I felt I couldn’t move. Using the word figuratively or symbolically to exaggerate my point. Effective, no?


But from the sounds of the radio program, I along with others who misuse the word, have been making people crazy with the misuse of the word. Who knew it drove people round the bend? It’s sort of funny really. It literally makes me pee my pants laughing. Oh those crazy linguistic sticklers.


I am a huge fan of Q Radio on CBC, and have massive crush on the host Jian Ghomeshi (who incidentally did not host this particular segment). I literally want to keep him in my pocket and pull him out anytime I want to be entertained. I love him not only because he engages listeners with his wit, intelligence and old school charm, but he features authors as a main staple of his broadcasts along with other controversial topics and colourful guests. How could a writer not love him? If you haven’t listened in yet, you should. You can go online and listen to past shows and catch up by clicking here.



12 Responses to “Does it literally drive you crazy?”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I wish to see him literally in your pocket! I literally explode when people use the word literally incorrectly!

    Yours truly,

  2. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred million times. Don’t exaggerate!

  3. Gotta say, I’m guilty of the literally thing too. As well as basically. Use that one way too much.

    The one that irks me? Decimate. It’s always used to indicate a large group was completely wiped out. What it means is, one-tenth of the group was wiped out. Literally (yes, that word again) one soldier in ten.

    Basically drives me bonkers…

    • Ah – but we are close in age, and I swear it has something to do with growing up in the 80’s. I also do “really” and “seriously” way too much for a woman in her forties.

  4. deepamwadds Says:

    Peter Gzowski once did a segment on how much the use of “basically” made him literally nuts. No, seriously, right? He totally hated it. Almost as much as saying “there is a lot of them,” and so on. And tell me, because I learned differently, but is impact also a verb? Because it is used literally everywhere, and I was under the impression that it was a noun.

  5. Dale Long Says:

    Umm… isn’t literally an ‘ly’ word? As writers we aren’t allowed to used them anyway. 😉 And I do realize you use the word figuratively not literally. Hehehe.

    Jian Ghomeshi is a great entertainer and it is no surprise that he is a book fan, see his music carreer with Moxy Früvous. eg “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors”.

  6. Bernice Says:

    I’m behind on reading your blogs so forgive the late reply to this particular gem. I am literally driven basically bonkers by the misuse of I when me is appropriate.

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