Here's a profound quote I heard the other day while waiting for a train: "It's like literally like five minutes away." This word, literally, sandwiched between two likes, is a unique language tick of this generation. Well, it used to be unique until everyone started saying it. What is our obsession with l-words? I don't know. But here are some reasons to literally stop saying, "literally."
1. It has way too many syllables.
Lit-er-al-ly has 4 syllables (a bit better than its predecessor, legitimately). Unlike the word, like, which is so easy to fit into conversation because of its vocal un-intrusiveness, literally is a mouthful. Because we speak fast, it often ends up sounding like lih-rully, which is kind of just nonsensical.
2. It doesn't increase the power of an argument.
Saying something will LITERALLY change your life doesn't give you any more authority than if you say something will change your life. People will be skeptical of you anyway, so don't give them a reason to question you further.
3. It doesn't really mean what we intend it to mean.
Literally, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary, means for our purposes, "to emphasize a statement and suggest that it is surprising." Alright, fine. But because we overuse it, it becomes hyperbolic, as in, "I literally cannot believe I just ate this delicious cookie." We think you can believe it. We would eat a delicious cookie and not question it.
4. Adding adverbs is a no-no.
A lot of writers will tell you to cool it on the adverbs, because it takes away from what you're actually trying to say (oops). All you end up hearing is the "literally" and not your literal ideas. Ex.) "I literally literally literally literally literally…"
5. It'll get old, soon.
Stay with the times. Literally is a millennial fad just like Gumby was a fad of the 1950s. Literally has succeeded legitimately and we think what's next is an even shorter L word. Um, largely? Ex.) "That greasy pizza was so largely satisfying, I am so largely full right now." Has a ring to it.
Are you ready to kick the literally habit? We think you have the power to heighten your speech to new levels. We mean it.