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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Are You "Literally" an Idiot?

I received an email from one of the many "internet marketing" guru who's e-lists I am on. Quite frankly, I am on waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many of these and I rarely ever even bother opening them. For some reason I did open this one. I am glad I did, because it started with this gem:

"I'm about to share with you the Defining moment and place that LITERALLY exploded my business W-E-L-L into the 7 figures."

Really? "Literally?" Not even, "literally" but rather, "LITERALLY"?

Do people no longer understand the meaning of the word literally?? From dictionary.com: "actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy"

Are you seeing where I am going with this? In order for his business to have "LITERALLY exploded...W-E-L-L into the 7 figures," that means that his business would have had to blown up - as in some kind of a highly combustible substance, like dynamite or C4, would have had to have been detonated on, in, or around his business. Not only that, but the end result of this firestorm must have been a business worth $1,000,000+

Maybe I'm misreading it. Maybe he meant that the explosion fractured his business into over a million pieces. Or maybe the business segmented into 7 distinct pieces, each of which resembled a figure in some way. But I doubt it.

I am NOT some kind of a crazy vocab/grammar obsessed type dude. As a rational intelligent person, I realize that his meaning was, "that exploded my business LITERALLY W-E-L-L into the 7 figures." And grammar and vocab wise, I'm no expert. I figure it's enough to own a copy of Strunk and White, even if I never read it, right?

But the misuse of the phrase "literally" always tickles my funny bone. Probably because whenever someone uses it they are really trying to add emphasis to their point and sound intelligent. But when you think about it, it just makes them sound foolish.

For me, this goes back to listening to Gorilla Monsoon, who would comment on old WWF events that were sold out by saying, "people are literally hanging from the rafters!" Really Gorilla? If that was the case then is I were to look up, I would see actual human beings clinging to the rafters of the arena for dear life just to they could watch the event. Somehow, I don't think so...

The Lesson: Step #1 in the step by step process to improvising with anything is to know your outcome. If your outcome is not to look like an ignoramus, think about the words you are going to use and what they mean. Especially in permanent, written form, or you will LITERALLY be condemned to the 6th circle of Dante's Inferno - or something like that...

1 comment:

Funny videos said...

Very good article.I'm about to share with you the Defining moment and place that LITERALLY exploded my business W-E-L-L into the 7 figures