File. Evan Vucci

MY SAY: Literally, I'm sick of word misused

AFTER the seismic news of last Wednesday, it's time to return to our routines, grit our teeth, jut out our chins, stiffen our spines and get used to Donald Trump.

We're stuck with him. We can't do anything about it, we just have to get on with it and hope he gets a decent haircut and lays off the spray tan.

Of all the elements that annoyed me during his long and turbulent campaign - and there were many - it was the endless use of the word "literally" that got to me most.

It wasn't just him, it was his supporters who used this good word so often and so wrongly (and they pronounced it long and slow, as in lit-errrr-ally).

On the day before the election, one old woman wearing her Trump badges and waving her Trump placards said: "If Donald Trump does not win this election tomorrow everyone in America will be dead - literally."

She gave a big theatrical pause after "dead" and then drawled out the lit-errr-ally word. And she then gave a knowing hard look at the camera to give emphasis to her stupid point.

Um ... I doubt everybody in the US would have fallen to the ground without a heart or pulse beat if Trump did not win. It would have required one hell of a big mass grave.

Many people (especially Americans, sorry) sprinkle "literally" around in their every conversation to the point that it has no impact, let alone meaning.

"He literally exploded with rage in front of me." I've heard that one before and tried to imagine the mess.

"He literally died laughing". No, he did not. He just laughed hard.

"She was literally on a knife's edge with anticipation." Impossible to stand on the edge of a knife, unless you are a high-wire expert who suffers from CIP (that's Congenital Insensitivity to Pain). Don't say you never learn from me.

Literally means "in a literal or strict sense".

In other words, it must be fact.

You simply cannot literally explode with rage unless you have a way to secretly combust that we don't know about - and we don't want to think about that, literally.

This over-use and wrong-use of "literal" drives me crazy, but only figuratively.

And while on the subject, I've noticed the dreaded "like" word creeping into the speech of people who should know better.

Where once it was used only by teenagers - and in my case a seven-year-old granddaughter (despair) - I'm now hearing the "like" word infiltrating conversations of people in their 40s, even their 50s.

Saying "like" is lazy, and it is bad enough to hear it so irreversibly entrenched in the speech of our young ones, but now in our mature people ... oh no! I might literally burst a blood vessel if this continues.