“LITERALLY”. Jen Doll in the Atlantic (January/February 2014) has an amusing article on the protests of prescriptivists about misuse of words. She begins with protests about Google’s acceptance, as a second definition of “literally”, its use to express strong feeling. The Guardian, for example, could not resist asking: “Have we literally broken the English language?” Doll points out that the Oxford English Dictionary has recognized this usage, although with a caveat, since the early 1900’s.

Doll lists some words whose usage has drawn fire from prescriptivists: “Irregardless”, “myriad”, “awful”, “hopefully”, “could care less”, “decimate” and “momentarily”. Since I have become a convert to usage as the test of correctness, I accept all of these usages.

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