Someone sent me a very good column in Newsweek about cliches. You'd think the author is an English professor, but he's a bioethics professor, which means he has a big brain--he's been able to ace science *and* language/writing. I usually meet people who are more literature-oriented or science/tech-oriented, but there don't tend to be a lot of people who are good at both.

One thing the prof complains about is a "common mistake" that his students make that "involves 'literally.' I often hear people on election night say, 'He literally won by a landslide.' If so, should geologists help us understand how?"

I agree! "Literally" means that something is quite exactly like something else. I should write down all the times I've heard people say "literally" when they actually were speaking metaphorically. I remember seeing a comedy sketch on Mad TV where a woman overused the word "literally". It was funny, but it certainly hasn't decreased people's use of that word in daily speech as well as in the media.

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