The Daily Post is on hiatus this week, so we’ll be highlighting great posts from the archives that you might have missed the first time around (never fear — there’ll still be a new Photo Challenge on Friday!).
Today, grammar guru Daryl explains how “literally” literally came to mean its opposite — and why that’s okay:
English usage snobs all over the internet shudder when they hear the word “literally” used to mean its opposite. For example, somebody who claims to have been “literally scared to death” actually means that he was figuratively scared to death. If he had been literally scared to death, he wouldn’t be around to tell us about his fate. Search Google for the simple word “literally” and you’ll find no shortage of sites correcting the misuse. Some fun treatments include that of The Oatmeal (beware, it’s a little off-color) and xkcd.