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Sunday, July 10, 2011

I literally want to explain this to you.

Grammaticians and Word folks get all bent up when someone says, "I literally died right there", or "I literally passed out from the shock". Because when you say "literally" you mean "it actually happened".

But here is the thing. I think it is perfectly within the American tradition to use hyperbole. I think that adding "literally" makes it's hyper-hyperbole (superbole?). I mean if you said, "I figuratively died right on the spot" it would kind of ruin the statement. Maybe I should start doing that. "I died right on the spot" is pure hyperbole, and I like it.

In any case, I am literally okay with it. I think it a bit clumsy, but I believe that most of the people who get upset at it's usage are the type of people who will tell you whether or not the pun was intended.

P.S. "hyperbole" is a FANTASTIC word.


  1. hyperbole is a fabulous word and the thing it describes is even better. I literally don't know how to write without using both.

  2. I don't think hyperbole is superfluous at all.

    I was going to write about the Oxford Comma debate, but I will leave that to the punctuation brigade.

  3. How about the grammarian debate? As opposed to the imaginary word grammatician? Or is that part of our allowed non-superfluous hyperbole?

  4. I was just waiting for someone to step into that trap.There is no such thing as an imaginary word. At some point someone invented the word "grammarian". Vocubulary Rangers are interested in propagating bold new words that take our language to the next level.