I will never use the word ‘literally’ again because it is overused and often misused. When people use the word ‘literally’ when they really mean ‘figuratively’, it diminishes the impact of the word and makes them seem uneducated.
If I say that I am literally dying of embarrassment, you might think that I am just exaggerating for effect, but if I say that I am figuratively dying of embarrassment, you will know that I am in a very serious and painful situation.
When we use words incorrectly, it not only makes us look bad, but it also makes the language itself look bad. It’s like when people use the word ‘literally’ when they mean ‘actually’ – it just makes them sound stupid.
So, from now on, I will be using the word ‘figuratively’ instead of ‘literally’. I would encourage you to do the same. Let’s make the English language better – one word at a time!