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Re^4: poll ideas quest 2015

by chacham (Prior)
on May 18, 2015 at 12:56 UTC ( #1126992=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^3: poll ideas quest 2015
in thread poll ideas quest 2015

I wanted to put down literally (no pun intended) with no second word That is, the word should simply be removed, as it is used for stress, but literally changes the meaning of the sentence (pun intended.)

I assume that is what you meant when you suggested figuratively. However, making the replacement would not only not be what the speaker wanted, it would work against the intended meaning of the sentence!

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Re^5: poll ideas quest 2015
by thargas (Deacon) on May 22, 2015 at 11:33 UTC

    Unfortunately, the forces of common usage have demoted literally from a useful word to an intensifier. Even the Oxford English Dictionary includes this now (see here). I suppose I can't really get annoyed with them as they are only documenting how things *are* used.

    Since there are two contradictory meanings for "literally", it is now literally useless. :-)

      ...an intensifier.

      So it's an expletive. :-)

        :-) Especially when used in comments about its use.
Re^5: poll ideas quest 2015
by jdporter (Canon) on May 19, 2015 at 14:42 UTC

    Well, you're right -- it would not make much sense to say "I figuratively died laughing!", despite the fact that figuratively is exactly how the speaker is using the word "died". Even so, a careful speaker might say:

    I died laughing (figuratively speaking).

      I died laughing (figuratively speaking).

      But, as parenthesis are not vocalized, that would come mean that he died while speaking in figures. And you thought you had math problems. :)

        You mean if it was said verbally? Somehow I don't think that would be a problem in reality; people use tone of voice -- which, incidentally, is hard to capture in writing. :-)

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