Tuesday, March 04, 2014

I'm Also a Word Snob

So, last month I confessed here that I am a word nerd.
Well, I have recently discovered I am also a word snob . That is, I don't like it when people use words incorrectly.
Especially words with clear meanings.
Like "literally".
Which means actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy.
(In case you didn't know.)

Anyway, this word-snob discovery happened when I was eavesdropping on a podcast to which my husband was listening. The speaker was talking about another man whose podcasts have become very successful and he said, "He has exploded. The guy is literally on fire!" In a teasing manner I said to Brian, "Boy, he doesn't sound very compassionate. This other guy is on fire - and Mr. Podcast seems happy about it."
OK. I know what Mr. Podcast meant. But if I am to take him at his word - which is what you should do when someone is speaking to you, right? - then I'm having a hard time listening. Because if Mr. Newly Successful is literally on fire, and Mr. Podcast is that excited about it, well? I'm not sure he's the kind of guy I want filling my mind with information.
Ya know?

And that's when it finally sank in. I.am.a.word.snob.
I don't want words to be worthless. Don't want them to lose their meaning. So it bothers me when people misuse them.
*If you're hungry, say so. Don't claim that you're literally starving to death.
*If you were just outside and it was really cold, tell me how cold you were. Don't tell me you were literally freezing.
*And if you have lots of work to do, by all means, get on it. And ask me for help if there's something I can do to assist. But don't tell me you're literally up to your ears in paperwork.

Because when you misuse words, they begin to lose their meaning. They become worthless as a mode of communication, because no one knows what you're really intending to say. When words are misused, they are stripped of their purpose. And that literally makes my skin crawl.




Mommy's coffee break blog said...

Oh no, how many times have my words made your skin crawl... Ha ha. I think I have done this exaggeration thing from time to time. ((hugs))

Karen Hossink said...

Mommy - You're OK. I *might* have been exaggerating when I said that made my skin crawl.
And, I'm not against exaggerating. As long as you aren't misusing words in the process. *wink*