s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Another infraction

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another infraction

The other morning I had NPR on and was listening to someone being interviewed about some war, when I caught another misuse of the word "literally." Alas, I can't remember who it was or what, exactly, they said. But the context was something like this:

"Turkish troops are literally playing with fire in northern Iraq . . ."

This would be a standard overstatement of the situation except that, ironically*, things wouldn't be so bad if the statement were literal. (There would probably be a lot fewer casualties if they really were just playing with fire.)

*According to someone (Elmore Leonard, perhaps?), you should never use the adverb "ironically," because if a situation you describe is truly ironic, your readers will be able to pick that up without being told so. So, in calling someone out for breaking one rule of style, I may be breaking another one. Ironically.


At February 24, 2008 10:26 PM, Blogger eleka nahmen said...

I heard that same program and caught the same thing!


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