Well, no, but the redefinition of ‘literally’ leaves it in a rather awkward state. Perhaps it’s a word best avoided for the momentIt’s happened. Literally the most misused word in the language has officially changed definition. Now as well as meaning “in a literal manner or sense; exactly: ‘the driver took it literally when asked to go straight over the traffic circle'”, various dictionaries have added its other more recent usage. As Google puts it, literally can be used “to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling”.Did we, as genuinely hundreds of people are tweeting, just break the English language? Or did we, as totally tens of bloggers are writing, prove that the English language is a beautiful, organic creature that is forever slipping out of our control? Well, no: to be precise, we have done something mildly annoying.”Literally”, you see, in its development from knock-kneed, single-purpose utterance, to swan-like dual-purpose term, has reached that awkward stage. It is neither one nor the other, and it can’t do anything right. So to use it at all is to encounter one of several pitfalls:1. Mucking about with its meaning isn’t clever …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books