On the Use of “Literally”

“I’m no socio-linguist or cognitive-scientist, but I do like to float some hypotheses: maybe we’re a generation that is scared of commitment, linguistically deferring reality with our false literallys and our compulsive “likes” and “sort ofs” and “kind of things” that make everything seem only tentative and approximate; maybe our literallys are geared for emphasis, betraying a touching desire to be taken seriously or a cry for attention; maybe our misuse reveals a deeper insecurity about what in fact is real; maybe it reflects a sheer disregard for proportion or accuracy; or maybe it arises from a subconscious need for universality in a confusing age of spiralling subjectivities and relativistic hopscotch, longing to pin down objective truths in even the most fantastical of scenarios …”

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