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Let’s Kick Everyone Out Who Doesn’t Speak English: We can start with the Americans!

August 7, 2014

Read Me!

Read Me!

My head about exploded today when I saw an article* from reporting that Webster, Macmillan Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, and Google have all decided to cave to morons all over Earth and add to the definition of “literally” to include that it also can mean “figuratively.”

NO NO NO!!! And NO!!! You just can’t arbitrarily decide that because people don’t know how to use a word properly, that we should just amend the definition to include the misuse of the word. This is literary blasphemy. Literally.

I’m pretty sure this is just the thing Michael Stipe was talking about when he sang of the end of the world. And I’m not fine with it. At all. What are these knuckleheads thinking? Or maybe the better question is, ARE they thinking? I mean the Webster’s didn’t even add “ain’t” into their publication until 1993, and people have been using that since the beginning of time. I wasn’t really happy about that either, but at least that is its own stand-alone word and not a modification of a definition of a word.

Sure, it’s been somewhat of a thing lately for the reference books to be more accepting of slang terms, but I don’t really consider altering the definition of the word literally to include a misuse of the word as a slang term. Maybe I’m wrong. It’s been known to happen, albeit rarely.

After a bit of research, it seems as though Webster’s Third is where things all started going downhill. Not only did they add “ain’t” into the mix, they also pretty much made it so you could use “infer” and “imply” interchangeably. You know, because people just weren’t using them right.   I guess it’s the whole “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality. Even the American Bar Association called them out on that, stating Webster’s was “devaluing the verbal currency of the English language.”

Listen up kids. When you say something like “I’m dying laughing!” don’t add literally to the end of it. That statement is a hyperbole. A hyperbole is “an exaggerated statement or claim not to be taken literally.” See what happened there? There’s no need to add “literally” to your statement because there is already a concept in the English language that lets us know you are not really dying – it’s understood that you are exaggerating for effect! We get that! Embrace the hyperbole and quit saying literally unless something REALLY happened the way you say it happened.

I remember flipping through the pages of Webster’s Unabridged when I was a kid. That thing was bigger than I was. There are so many words we have; yet we use so little of them. There is no need to take a perfectly good word and add a definition to it because people are too lazy to figure out the right word to use. And frankly, that’s what it all boils down to – we are too lazy to find the proper word to use. It makes my heart weep.

By the way, my heart is not literally weeping, because hearts can’t weep.  That, my friends, is a metaphor.

*In case you want to read about the stupidity:


One Comment leave one →
  1. August 7, 2014 8:42 pm

    Thank you. This needed to be said!

    I tried once before:

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