Everyone has a language peeve. Mine is “literally,” a great word with no close synonym. When used as a mere intensifier or to mean simply “It felt as though…” it has almost no kick at all. And when misused, it can be spectacular: what Lindsey Graham recently said of an American program to turn weapons-grade plutonium into reactor fuel for peaceful energy. Truly this is a good thing, but Graham probably shouldn’t have said that “the United States is literally taking nuclear swords and turning them into plowshares.” My first thought was that it was pretty sweet that DARPA had finally invented nuclear swords. My second was, “But who wants a nuclear plowshare? Would you eat vegetables out of a field plowed with one?”
Read the full article here.