I “Literally” Can’t Handle It

This past week a terrifying article popped up in the Washington Post. The word “literally” has officially been changed in the dictionary. Now for those of you who don’t communicate on a frequent basis with anyone under the age of 35, here’s the deal. Apparently the word literally now has two polar opposite meanings. When I was growing up literally meant actually. I am literally 22 years old. It is literally 71 degrees in this apartment. Well now the word literally has been added to mean “in essence”. It is the exaggeration of something to make a point. For example, “it is literally 1,000 degrees in this apartment”. It is not. I am not on the sun. I’m on a leather sofa with a window air unit. So no, it isn’t literally 1,000 degrees, nor will it ever be. This complete rape and murder of English grammar got me thinking of more horrifying words and phrases that are slain on a daily basis by people who simply don’t know they are doing it wrong. Well here you go. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Not Slaughtering the English Language. Enjoy.

1) Filled. The word is not filt. There is no “t” in this word. This isn’t even a situation like in the word “often” where the T can be a bit silent if you want. There is no “t” in filled. In fact it is so silent that they just chose to not spell it that way. So when you say you “filled up your gas tank”, can we make sure there is a D there.

2) Anyway. There is no anyways. There is no need for a plural here. “Anyway” is an adverb that means despite something. It does not need to mean despite all things or despite all of the ways. No “s”. Think of it as a less is more scenario.

3) Supposedly. This word should never be supposably. “Supposably” is a word but it means that you can suppose it. It means that it is conceivable. Unlike the filled/filt catastrophe and the anyway/anyways explosion, supposably is a different word. This is just an instance where someone is saying the wrong word. Use proper English, please.

4) Accessorize. I was watching “What Not to Wear” the other day, because everyone needs a good dose of makeover shows. The girl who was getting the makeover held up a black dress and said “I don’t know how I would assessorize this.” The word is accessorize. This is simply an issue of enunciating (which is different than annunciating… just throwing that one out there). You have lots of muscles in your mouth. Use them. There is no need to speak like you have a mouth full of mashed potatoes in your mouth. I don’t know of any circumstance where I’ve said to myself, ‘man, I just really need to slur this word because talking is just too dang hard right now.’

5) Espresso. Anyone who knows me knows that I love all things Starbucks. Is probably borderline unhealthy, but I am completely OK with that. Being in NYC this week I have already been to 4 different Starbucks stores and have heard this in each. “I’d like an extra shot of expresso” or “how many shots of expresso come in a venti”. No. Look at that word. What letter in that word is giving you the idea that there should be a hard “x” sound. Espresso is literally one of the most lisp-y, smooth words out there. Why do you need to make it sound like your chomping down on a cracker while saying it?

So there are 5 common issues that slightly infuriate me. Feel free to add to this list if you would like. Also, feel free to use the English language correctly… that’s always a good thing to do too. Also if you would like to see more of these watch this video. It’s really funny.