Words students confuse: Literally

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,030 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited August 2017 in Vocabulary

Students often have difficulty using the word "Literally"

English speakers sometimes use words incorrectly. "Literally" is one that is heard frequently. "Literally" means actually, factually, a real instance of something occurring.

Someone who is hungry might say, "I could literally eat a horse." While horse might be on the menu in some countries, there is NO way a human being could eat an entire horse. This usage is incorrect.

Use "literally" when you mean "take something as factual or correct." For example, "I took his words literally, and did not realize he was joking." Or, "I literally spent 2 hours preparing this meal." It is quite possible, and factual, to spend 2 hours preparing a meal.

Be careful about how you use the word "literal" and also be careful when you hear English speakers using it. Always ask yourself, "Is this actually possible?"
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