Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Defense Of Using "Literally" Figuratively

My pedantry over the non-literal use of "literally" seems to annoy this author just as much as the phrase, "I literally DIED" annoys me. Fair enough, her charge of inconsistency is a just one. I shudder to think what would happen if a professional grammarian gave my blog more than a cursory glance. But can't we draw the line somewhere? If we lose our ground on "literal", who knows where we might end up. Can "calm" now be used synonymously with "agitated"? There is always something to be said for the organic development of language, but without anyone being a stickler for the rules, what's next? Dogs and cats living together? Massive hysteria? Oh wait, wrong crisis.