Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

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Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:36 pm UTC

So we all know that "literally" is frequently misused and that really bothers some people.

But look at my preceding sentence. It "really bothers some people". Am I literally qualifying that some people being bothered is not a mere fiction or fantasy, but rather a fact of the actual, real world? Or am I emphasizing that some people were very bothered?

But wait, look at that preceding sentence now. "Very" bothered? "Very" as in M.E. verray "true, real, genuine," from O.Fr. verai "true," from L. verax "truthful"? So they were truly bothered?

But again, is that "truly" meant literally as "not falsely", as in they were in fact bothered, and I am not merely lying about this matter? Or is that, again, being repurposed from its literal meaning for emphasis, to say that the people are seriously bothered?

But wait again, "seriously"? As in, I'm not kidding, or joking, or being sarcastic, or euphemistic, or figurative, but am claiming they are really, truly, verily, literally bothered? Or, once again, am I simply emphasizing just how bothered they were?

Are there any words in English which serve for emphasis in the way that "very, truly, really, seriously" do, but don't have their etymological roots in meanings having to do with simply distinguishing from fiction, fantasy, falsehood, frivolousness, etc? And isn't "literally" then simply the latest addition to that long list? Why is "he literally exploded" any worse than "he really blew his top", "he is truly a giant among men", etc?
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:05 am UTC

Any adjective that truly conveys the magnitude of emotion felt. Those people are indeed greatly bothered.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:15 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:Any adjective that truly conveys the magnitude of emotion felt.

Except those which have their etymological roots in something meaning to distinguish fact from fiction, since I specifically asked for adverbs (FTFY) not in that category.

Those people are indeed greatly bothered.

Another great example: "indeed", as in, "in fact" or "in truth", here meant not literally (there was never any doubt that the people in question were, in fact, in truth, in reality, actually bothered), but instead used merely for emphasis.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:46 am UTC

Perhaps I was unclear (and I apologise for writing 'adjective'.)

The word I suggested was 'greatly'. I used 'indeed' as a joke, but forgot that it would be taken as you did.

To rephrase: "'Greatly' conveys depth of feeling without denoting veracity. 'The people are greatly bothered.'"
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:06 am UTC

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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:28 am UTC

In answer to your second question, pfhorrest, I would suggest the difference is that it could be said, for example, one might actually, truthfully and seriously, in deed and in fact explode, metaphorically speaking, whereas one cannot literally explode without the aid of some device.

Now, one might argue that literally might be appropriately used where the subsequent verb has a commonly accepted alternate definition, as per explode, in which case I would argue therefore the definition of literal itself has not changed.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:13 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:The word I suggested was 'greatly'. I used 'indeed' as a joke, but forgot that it would be taken as you did.

To rephrase: "'Greatly' conveys depth of feeling without denoting veracity. 'The people are greatly bothered.'"

Ahh, I gotcha now. Yes, I think that does fit the bill. "Great" connotes nothing but magnitude... and, derivatively, quality, because we all know bigger is better. Great answer ;)

Now, one might argue that literally might be appropriately used where the subsequent verb has a commonly accepted alternate definition, as per explode, in which case I would argue therefore the definition of literal itself has not changed.

So if I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time -- and I mean literally in the literal sense there -- and I said "I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time", would you interpret that use of "literally" to be simply clarifying that I was not just metaphorically on the edge of my seat, or would you take it to be for emphasis?
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Qaanol » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:13 pm UTC

Sometimes I say things like, “I figuratively died laughing.” And when an opportunity arises to do so with good effect, I even more enjoy using the analogous and nearly-synonymous construction, “I literarily died laughing.”
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:46 pm UTC

Why is literally the only word we're not allowed to use figuratively?

When I say "allowed" I mean allowed by certain usage mavens. It has been used figuratively since at least 1839.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:51 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:And isn't "literally" then simply the latest addition to that long list? Why is "he literally exploded" any worse than "he really blew his top", "he is truly a giant among men", etc?
It's worse because it hasn't fully made that transition yet, at least not for everyone.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:17 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Now, one might argue that literally might be appropriately used where the subsequent verb has a commonly accepted alternate definition, as per explode, in which case I would argue therefore the definition of literal itself has not changed.

So if I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time -- and I mean literally in the literal sense there -- and I said "I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time", would you interpret that use of "literally" to be simply clarifying that I was not just metaphorically on the edge of my seat, or would you take it to be for emphasis?

I (and I mean literally I, not wishing to presume for others) would interpret you saying 'literally' as meaning you were not merely speaking metaphorically. However, I would interpret your phrase as a whole as hyperbole. "I was so excited, I was on the edge of my seat. Metaphorically at least. Then it got even more exciting, and I was literally on the edge of my seat."

The issue is, such phrases as "a giant amongst men" and "on the edge of my seat" are accepted as metaphors. Hence, to convey that one is not speaking (at least in part) metaphorically one says they are "literally [metaphor]". To allow "literally" to mean its antonym is to invite confusion.

goofy wrote:Why is literally the only word we're not allowed to use figuratively?

When I say "allowed" I mean allowed by certain usage mavens. It has been used figuratively since at least 1839.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:35 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:To allow "literally" to mean its antonym is to invite confusion.


I don't think so. There are many words that mean their own opposite, for instance: cleave, sanction, condone, trim, dust, fast. Having a word with two opposite meanings does not automatically mean that confusion will result.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:22 pm UTC

goofy wrote:There are many words that mean their own opposite, for instance: ... condone, trim, ... fast.


Huh? Your other examples I get, but I have never heard of "condone" being used for the act of declaring something wrong, "trim" for allowing something to grow or "fast" for either slow or starting eating.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Qaanol » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:24 pm UTC

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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:40 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:"trim" for allowing something to grow or "fast" for either slow or starting eating.
"Trim" can mean adding or taking away around the edge of something, and "fast" can mean moving quickly or not moving at all.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby firechicago » Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:50 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
goofy wrote:There are many words that mean their own opposite, for instance: ... condone, trim, ... fast.


Huh? Your other examples I get, but I have never heard of "condone" being used for the act of declaring something wrong, "trim" for allowing something to grow or "fast" for either slow or starting eating.


I agree with you on condone, but I think you're missing the relevant meanings of "trim" and "fast."

Trim can mean either "to cut off the edges of", or "to add peripheral decoration (sometimes called "trim) to". (As in, "We trimmed the Christmas tree" or "roast turkey with all the trimmings.")(In fact after writing it I realize "trimming the tree" is ambiguous, you could be cutting back its branches or covering it in ornaments)

Fast can mean "able to move quickly" or "secure and unmovable." (As in, "I held fast to the ladder's rungs" or "the first mate made fast the hatches.")

Edit: ninja'd, that's what I get for posting from work.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:22 pm UTC

Huh, I'm wrong about "condone".
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:57 am UTC

goofy wrote:
VectorZero wrote:To allow "literally" to mean its antonym is to invite confusion.


I don't think so. There are many words that mean their own opposite, for instance: cleave, sanction, condone, trim, dust, fast. Having a word with two opposite meanings does not automatically mean that confusion will result.
Context will usually clarify most of those. "Cleave" (separate) vs "cleave to" (stick); "sanction" (verb) vs "sanction" (noun). "Dust [noun]" (remove fine particles) vs "Dust with [noun]" (add fine particles.) "I literally [verb]" when the meaning is "I figuratively [verb]" is imprecise.

In any case, the burden of clear communication lies with the speaker.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:00 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:"I literally [verb]" when the meaning is "I figuratively [verb]" is imprecise.


I thought we were talking about confusion, not imprecision. Anyway, how many real examples of figurative "literally" are there where the meaning is unclear? MWDEU has examples that sound a bit silly, but how many genuinely confusing examples are there? I don't think you give context enough credit.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:23 am UTC

"I literally want to kill you. So I should leave before I commit a crime."
"I literally fell in love at first sight. However, that faded by the third date."
"I was literally on the edge of my seat. Which is why I fell off."

A counter question. How would you clarify that you do wish a commonly-used metaphor to be taking as written, if 'literally' is to imply hyperbole?
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:38 am UTC

All of your examples seem to use "literally" in the non-figurative sense. I don't see any confusion. Anyway, when I said "genuine" I mean real life occurring examples. Is there any real evidence that figurative "literally" causes confusion?

A counter question. How would you clarify that you do wish a commonly-used metaphor to be taking as written, if 'literally' is to imply hyperbole?


From the OED:

1963 I. Murdoch Unicorn ii. viii. 85 He must have fallen literally at her feet and lain there gasping.

2006 N.Y. Rev. Bks. 2 Nov. 20/2 Bloody Dionysian murders‥in which a man, said to be a ‘rapist’, is literally torn into pieces.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:06 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:The issue is, such phrases as "a giant amongst men" and "on the edge of my seat" are accepted as metaphors. Hence, to convey that one is not speaking (at least in part) metaphorically one says they are "literally [metaphor]". To allow "literally" to mean its antonym is to invite confusion.

My point isn't so much that we should allow "literally" to mean its antonym, as it is that by that standard we should take issue with a lot of other common usages too. One can imagine confusion from misapplication of "truly" as easily as from "literally":

"He was truly a giant among men!"
"Truly? Like, a real giant? How tall?"

We don't usually trip up over this because we recognize "a giant among men" as a metaphor and "truly" as emphatic; but then the same is frequently true of misused "literally". Both cases rob us of a way of saying "no, not metaphorically, but literally, really, truly, actually, exactly what I said, in fact", and that is a problem, but why do we take issue with one and not the other?
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:41 am UTC

goofy wrote:All of your examples seem to use "literally" in the non-figurative sense. I don't see any confusion. Anyway, when I said "genuine" I mean real life occurring examples. Is there any real evidence that figurative "literally" causes confusion?

A counter question. How would you clarify that you do wish a commonly-used metaphor to be taking as written, if 'literally' is to imply hyperbole?


From the OED:

1963 I. Murdoch Unicorn ii. viii. 85 He must have fallen literally at her feet and lain there gasping.

2006 N.Y. Rev. Bks. 2 Nov. 20/2 Bloody Dionysian murders‥in which a man, said to be a ‘rapist’, is literally torn into pieces.
Any confusing use of the phrase could, by definition, be used either figuratively or literally. I gave examples of phrases that are used figuratively and used them in a literal way.

As to your counter examples, I don't see what designates them as literal, especially 'fall at your feet.' If 'literally' may mean 'figuratively' or 'metaphorically' or 'hyperbolically' or whatever other subtly distinct word that means 'not as written', how does one convey which meaning one intends?

Pfhorrest: usage and time, I guess, much like gmalivuk implied earlier.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:09 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:Any confusing use of the phrase could, by definition, be used either figuratively or literally. I gave examples of phrases that are used figuratively and used them in a literal way.


But the context of your examples made the meaning clear. Anyway, again, your examples aren't evidence because they are contrived, they are not naturally occurring bits of language. I still haven't seen any relevant evidence that figurative "literally" causes confusion.

As to your counter examples, I don't see what designates them as literal, especially 'fall at your feet.' If 'literally' may mean 'figuratively' or 'metaphorically' or 'hyperbolically' or whatever other subtly distinct word that means 'not as written', how does one convey which meaning one intends?


Context.

The Iris Murdoch quote is from the OED entry "Used to indicate that the following word or phrase must be taken in its literal sense, usually to add emphasis". So I am trusting that it is meant non-figuratively. I don't have more context.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Iulus Cofield » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:18 am UTC

Does anyone else use "actually" to convey that an event happens/happened in a not at all figurative way?
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:42 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Both cases rob us of a way of saying "no, not metaphorically, but literally, really, truly, actually, exactly what I said, in fact", and that is a problem, but why do we take issue with one and not the other?
Pfhorrest: usage and time, I guess, much like gmalivuk implied earlier.

I suppose I meant to ask: why should we take issue with one and not the other? The causes of the issue-taking are clear, I'm asking for a justification of the inconsistency.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:19 am UTC

goofy wrote:
VectorZero wrote:Any confusing use of the phrase could, by definition, be used either figuratively or literally. I gave examples of phrases that are used figuratively and used them in a literal way.
But the context of your examples made the meaning clear. Anyway, again, your examples aren't evidence because they are contrived, they are not naturally occurring bits of language. I still haven't seen any relevant evidence that figurative "literally" causes confusion.
As to your counter examples, I don't see what designates them as literal, especially 'fall at your feet.' If 'literally' may mean 'figuratively' or 'metaphorically' or 'hyperbolically' or whatever other subtly distinct word that means 'not as written', how does one convey which meaning one intends?
Context.

The Iris Murdoch quote is from the OED entry "Used to indicate that the following word or phrase must be taken in its literal sense, usually to add emphasis". So I am trusting that it is meant non-figuratively. I don't have more context.
The issue is less that figurative "literally" is itself confusing (no one would ever confuse "I was so scared I literally died" as anything but hyperbole) as it dilutes the meaning of the word. It creates confusion when the literal "literally" is used. You keep saying I must infer from context. Why do I need to say anything more than "literally" when I literally mean literally? That's the primary meaning of the word! Its potential use as an intensifier means one must clarify that "literally" does not mean "figuratively". It's absurd.

Contextually, I understand what someone means when they say "I should of taken the bus to work today." That doesn't mean it's as acceptable as "I should have taken the bus today."

"Like 'incredible,' 'literally' has been so overused as a sort of vague intensifier that it is in danger of losing its literal meaning. It should be used to distinguish between a figurative and a literal meaning of a phrase. It should not be used as a synonym for 'actually' or 'really.' Don't say of someone that he 'literally blew up' unless he swallowed a stick of dynamite."
(Paul Brians, "literally," Common Errors in English Usage, William, James & Co., 2003)

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Pfhorrest wrote:
VectorZero wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:We don't usually trip up over this because we recognize "a giant among men" as a metaphor and "truly" as emphatic; but then the same is frequently true of misused "literally". Both cases rob us of a way of saying "no, not metaphorically, but literally, really, truly, actually, exactly what I said, in fact", and that is a problem, but why do we take issue with one and not the other?
Pfhorrest: usage and time, I guess, much like gmalivuk implied earlier.

I suppose I meant to ask: why should we take issue with one and not the other? The causes of the issue-taking are clear, I'm asking for a justification of the inconsistency.
Because its 2012 and I use really, truly as emphasis myself?

Iulus Cofield wrote:Does anyone else use "actually" to convey that an event happens/happened in a not at all figurative way?
Certainly.

Idea: people don't use enough similes, instead overusing metaphor. When they want to emphasise the comparison, they can't progress from simile to metaphor, so they're left co-opting an innocent word like "really" or "literally" to add emphasis.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:12 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:The issue is less that figurative "literally" is itself confusing (no one would ever confuse "I was so scared I literally died" as anything but hyperbole) as it dilutes the meaning of the word. It creates confusion when the literal "literally" is used. You keep saying I must infer from context. Why do I need to say anything more than "literally" when I literally mean literally? That's the primary meaning of the word! Its potential use as an intensifier means one must clarify that "literally" does not mean "figuratively". It's absurd.


You keep saying that "literally" is imprecise or confusing. I keep asking for evidence - real-world naturally occurring bits of language with "literally" that are unclear. I still haven't seen any.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:19 pm UTC

Ok, perhaps another way to put it is that the word is becoming meaningless. If the only way to determine if 'literally' means 'literally' or 'figuratively' is to assess the context, then what value is there in using the word?
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:52 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:it is in danger of losing its literal meaning
Why is this a danger? Is it more dangerous for "literally" to change meaning than it was for all the other words that ever changed meaning?
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:00 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:Ok, perhaps another way to put it is that the word is becoming meaningless. If the only way to determine if 'literally' means 'literally' or 'figuratively' is to assess the context, then what value is there in using the word?


What is the value in using "sanction", "cleave", "trim", "dust", etc since we need context to determine the meaning? What about put down, which has four wildly different meanings? Polysemy abounds, and languages love multiple meanings.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:36 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:Ok, perhaps another way to put it is that the word is becoming meaningless. If the only way to determine if 'literally' means 'literally' or 'figuratively' is to assess the context, then what value is there in using the word?
If the only way to determine if "you" is a singular subject, plural subject, singular object, or plural object is to assess the context, then what value is there in using the word? Likewise the only way to determine whether "her" is an object or a possessive, or whether "we" includes the listener or not.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
VectorZero wrote:Ok, perhaps another way to put it is that the word is becoming meaningless. If the only way to determine if 'literally' means 'literally' or 'figuratively' is to assess the context, then what value is there in using the word?
If the only way to determine if "you" is a singular subject, plural subject, singular object, or plural object is to assess the context, then what value is there in using the word? Likewise the only way to determine whether "her" is an object or a possessive, or whether "we" includes the listener or not.
Can I interest you in advocating for the introduction of more pronouns to English? That would be super. Until then, best we've got, I'm afraid.

gmalivuk wrote:
VectorZero wrote:it is in danger of losing its literal meaning
Why is this a danger? Is it more dangerous for "literally" to change meaning than it was for all the other words that ever changed meaning?
That was from a quote, as referenced; I'm not the original author. The point was that which I made in my previous post: there is little value in using the word if its meaning is diluted.

goofy: and 'set' has at least 36 meanings as a verb, 24 as a noun and 7 as an adjective, more depending on how rigorously you define different meanings. I'm not arguing against a flexible language: Shakespeare would be terribly dull if each word had one and only one meaning. Conversely, more words allows a more specific meaning to be attributable to each word: "cleave" vs "bisect" vs "divide" etc. (I'm sure you know all this, just trying to outline my thoughts better.) The value in using these words comes from the complete thought expressed from the sentence as a whole.

But 'literally', as an adverb, used to provide emphasis does not add content, especially when it is used to provide emphasis to a hyperbolic metaphor. The meaning of many sentences containing 'literally' would be literally unchanged if 'literally' was not used. There are plenty of other adverbs if you insist on using one, as mentioned earlier.

As for real life examples:
(The Royal Flying Doctors Service is an outreach medical service for outback Australia.)

And it is ridiculously late here and I'm off to bed.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:06 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:
But 'literally', as an adverb, used to provide emphasis does not add content, especially when it is used to provide emphasis to a hyperbolic metaphor. The meaning of many sentences containing 'literally' would be literally unchanged if 'literally' was not used. There are plenty of other adverbs if you insist on using one, as mentioned earlier.


I agree that "literally" can sound silly or sometimes isn't needed. But where is the confusion?

As for real life examples:
(The Royal Flying Doctors Service is an outreach medical service for outback Australia.)


So "literally" is here used in its non-figurative sense. Where is the confusion?
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby skullturf » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:08 pm UTC

Suppose that at some time in the near future, people started using "I'm not joking" or "This really happened" as a mere intensifier in contexts that were clearly jokes or metaphors or exaggerations.*

I could see this being annoying or confusing at first. If it started as more prevalent among certain speakers (e.g. younger speakers, and/or speakers in a certain region), this could be annoying or confusing to the people who weren't among the first to notice or adopt the change.

But it's a question of degree. If enough people use it, then eventually at some point (it might be hard to pinpoint exactly when) people might have to just shrug and say, "OK, I guess people are using this not as a statement of fact, but as an intensifier of metaphors."

Currently in 2012, I would say "literally" lies somewhere between "I'm not joking" and "really" on the spectrum. Currently, there isn't a pattern of using "I'm not joking" in the above way. Currently, using "really" as a mere intensifier is uncontroversial and tends to go unnoticed. And currently, "literally" as intensifier is slightly controversial/annoying, depending on who you ask.

(* Note: In a certain sense, this already does happen! On Conan O'Brien's old Late Night show on NBC, there was a running joke called "Actual Items" where Conan would show headlines or ads that had been obviously altered for humorous effect. Conan would say something like, "And the great thing is, these are real and not made up. Why would you make these up; you'd just be wasting everyone's time." From the context -- Conan's tone of voice and word choice, and our familiarity with the show -- we understood that in this context, "These are real and not made up" actually means "These aren't real and are made up.")
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby VectorZero » Wed Jan 25, 2012 4:25 pm UTC

goofy wrote:
As for real life examples:
(The Royal Flying Doctors Service is an outreach medical service for outback Australia.)


So "literally" is here used in its non-figurative sense. Where is the confusion?

Because he's not part of the flying doctors, and the actual meaning is that it's a bad pun on 'winger'.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:04 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:
goofy wrote:
So "literally" is here used in its non-figurative sense. Where is the confusion?

Because he's not part of the flying doctors, and the actual meaning is that it's a bad pun on 'winger'.


I don't know what a winger is, but I'm still not confused by this excerpt. But I guess your mileage may vary.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:09 pm UTC

No, I see the confusion there, because one can literally be a "flying doctor", as in part of the RFDS, yet that isn't what was meant in the excerpt.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby goofy » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:11 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:No, I see the confusion there, because one can literally be a "flying doctor", as in part of the RFDS, yet that isn't what was meant in the excerpt.


OK, I see that.
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Re: Literally, Really, Very, Truly, Seriously

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:49 pm UTC

goofy wrote:
VectorZero wrote:
goofy wrote:
So "literally" is here used in its non-figurative sense. Where is the confusion?

Because he's not part of the flying doctors, and the actual meaning is that it's a bad pun on 'winger'.


I don't know what a winger is, but I'm still not confused by this excerpt. But I guess your mileage may vary.

It's a position in Rugby.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rugby_union_positions#Wing
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