Thursday, 31 January 2013

"People Are Literally Tearing Their Hair Out!"

Misuse of the word 'literally' can conjure up some strange mental images...

The 'How To Save The World' books.
"You'll literally laugh your head off!"
I read in the paper recently that one of the things that annoys a lot of people about modern language is the misuse of the word ‘literally’.  Apparently some people are literally tearing their hair out at the regularity with which this word gets used incorrectly.

However, I remember watching Stephen Fry argue once that language is a living thing and that language is constantly evolving.  So if people are constantly using a word to mean something other than what it was originally intended, you could therefore argue that after a certain length of time this word then acquires a new meaning.  For example the word ‘fabulous’ originally meant ‘pertaining to fables,’ i.e. a centaur or a griffon, for example.  But nowadays ‘fabulous’ is just a word which posh people use to mean ‘brilliant’.

I remember arguing with a mate once about language and when I quoted the wisdom of Stephen Fry on language in support of my viewpoint my mate then suddenly conceded the argument stating, ‘You can’t argue with Stephen Fry when it comes to language.’  I would have to agree, so maybe you could argue that the word ‘literally’ has now developed a new meaning, i.e. ‘literally’ now means ‘not literally at all’.

Anyway, whether the word ‘literally’ has obtained a new meaning or not, when taken literally it can produce some interesting mental images, so I thought it would be a cool idea to compile a list of quotes which quite literally use the word ‘literally’ in a totally non-literal sense.

To start things off, Jamie Redknapp has got to feature heavily in any report on the misuse of the word 'literally', so here are a few of his quotes which conjure up some strange mental images:

Barcelona resort to extreme and unfair measures with
their team selection against Manchester United.
1) “This new ball literally explodes off the player’s foot.”

2) “He had to cut back onto his left because he literally hasn’t got a right foot.” 

3)  “It’s literally men against lions out there.”

4) “The crowd behind the goal are literally going insane.”

5) “In his youth, Michael Owen was literally a greyhound.”

6) “Centre forwards have the ability to make time stand still.  And when Chopra got the ball, it literally did just that.”

Jamie Redknapp isn’t alone when it comes to the non-literal use of the word ‘literally,’ however.  So here are a few more quotes which ‘literally’ had me picturing some weird scenarios...

1) I literally cried my eyes out for nearly an hour afterward...
A review of ER season 8 episode 21 found on  For safety reasons, I would advise against watching this particular episode of ER.

Nick Clegg investigates the taxation policies of
intergalactic governments around the universe.
2) You see people literally in a different galaxy who are paying extraordinarily low rates of tax.
...Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg discussing the low tax rates he encountered while on his recent space travelling expedition.

3) My legs literally turned to jelly.
...Rachel Stevens reveals she had some tricky physical challenges to overcome on Strictly Come Dancing.

4) “Monster cookies are meant for kids, but in my house they’re totally for adults too.  I love how you can literally add anything to them…”
...a quote on the Vanilla Kichen blog for creative recipes.  Hmm, I don’t think I’ll be eating any cookies in their house.

5) ...they literally will split the child in half to live one week with the mother...
...Ulrika Jonsson commenting on the harshness and inhumanity of the child custody system in Sweden.

6) I’m literally gutted.” mate (a Newcastle fan) after Arsenal scored four late goals to beat Newcastle 7-3.  Luckily, he wasn’t actually literally gutted and he was just extremely disappointed.

7) And finally, here’s one relating to controversial Liverpool striker, Mario Balotelli:

“Balotelli was literally on fire this weekend!”

Actually, judging by some of Balotelli’s escapades involving fireworks, this one might actually be true.

. . . . . . . .

You can find a selection of sports themed 'literally' quotes at the link below:
"Everton are literally a bag of Revels!"

This post was quite literally written and compiled by Charles Fudgemuffin.  Charles is the author of the 'How To Save The World' books which will literally have you laughing your head off.  As an introductory offer, you can currently get the first book in the series as a free download from Payhip:
Download the first book for free!

Not suitable for prudes or squares.
Or the first book in the series is also available from Amazon:
Download 'How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy' from Amazon

The 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.

Please note, Charles Fudgemuffin accepts no liability in the event of head loss due to excessive laughter.

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.