This post is part of the “Blogging from A-Z April Challenge”! The “E” themed inspiration for today is “eavesdropping.” Enjoy!
As someone who spends at least an hour in public transit everyday, I do my fair share of eavesdropping.
Recently, while sitting on a bus ride, I overheard a girl around my age explaining to her friend:
“Sarah’s my best friend! She’s literally twelve. But she’s actually eighteen. But literally…she’s twelve.”
Apparently this all made sense to her, as she continued on in this manner:
“They sat around and talked about cabbages for literally…I mean, ACTUALLY four hours.”
Then after all this, as if sensing my confusion:
“There’s a big difference between literally and actually. Literally.”
Ah. It all makes sense.
Or…NOT, wait, what?
Let’s just clear some things up. From Dictionary.com:
1. In the literal or strict sense
2. In a literal manner; word for word
3. Actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy
Actually: truly real, existent
You can’t use “literally” when making an exaggeration. Or else you sound like a fool. Eg. You cannot say: “I’m literally moving mountains,” in reference to, say, adopting a cat. You are not displacing sizable features of the Earth. You are adopting a cat. Instead try, “I’m adopting a cat.”
Similarly, “actually” cannot be used figuratively, or when making an exaggeration. You can’t say, “I’m actually on fire,” when you wear a fur coat outside on a hot day. Unless there are flames on your person, you are not, actually, on fire. Instead, you could say, “I am wearing a fur coat outside on a hot day. I am actually stupid.”
It’s simple, see? Use your words right and I’ll be that much closer to understanding you when I eavesdrop on your conversations. Because of this confusion I’ll never know if that friend is twelve or eighteen, or if a group of people talked about cabbages for four hours or not. And in my zombie-like, bored-out-of-my-mind, transiting mode, I’m figuratively dying to know.
(Coming up tomorrow on The A-Z Challenge: ‘F’ is for “Failure”.)
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