Statto‘s not the only one to get pissed off at some of the ways people abuse and misuse their language. I’m not perfect myself (contrary to my bedpartners’ claims), but there’s one form of linguistic butchery that really gets my goat.
The thing that really gets to me is the persistent and habitual misuse by some people of the word literally… to describe something which is not literally the case and is, in some cases, even a metaphor – quite the opposite of a literal. What these people mean to say, of course, is probably really (which has a double meaning – being real, which is virtually the same as literally – and as a term of exaggeration). Occasionally they mean particularly, in order to differentiate between other metaphor-inducing events. But usually, their needs would be serviced with a simple exclamation mark. Now it’s not to say that I haven’t made this mistake – I have – but somehow other people’s mental self-torture over their mistake never seems to atone for their sin.
Now comes a new torment, fresh from the habits of a co-worker of mine. He shall remain nameless, but how he infuriates me shall be known to all – having finally learnt what the word literally literally means (see what I did there?), he’s instead substituted it in his sentences with physically.
Sometimes, this would be okay – after all, sometimes he’s talking about things which are physical events and trying to exaggerate them. But he and I work together as software engineers, and so we spend a lot of time talking about virtual concepts such as variables and program code. Have you any idea how annoying it is to be stuck into a debugging session and be interrupted by a guy saying “I know I can use dot-clone, but can I physically copy an object structure in memory?”
It literally makes my blood boil.