Seriously Kidding: New linguistic study reveals that use of ‘literally’ deserves second look

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Twenty-two-year-old Kelly Nicholas, a thought-to-be frequent flyer in linguistic hyperbole, exclaimed that after her phone fell into the water during a seaward selfie, she “literally died.”

Intellectuals who were present simultaneously rolled their eyes at the reckless disregard for the literal meaning of the word, when closer inspection revealed that Nicholas was no longer performing the basic metabolic activities necessary for life.

“One minute I’m turning the camera to capture my best angles with a glimpse of the somewhat less attractive seascape behind me, and then all of a sudden I’m being taken on a date or whatever down some Acheron river,” the ghost of Nicholas explained. “Literally all I wanted to do was take one decent picture in my new Victoria’s Secret bikini and maybe get a few emojis with heart eyes thrown around.

“This post means everything because Mark [her crush] liked two of my pictures in a row and if he double-tapped my selfie flush with ripe melons, it would be a definite sign that he’s into me. Mark, if you’re reading this, Sofia edits her Instagram pictures and she’s not even good at it. Also, one of the brothers in Psi Kappa Psi overheard one of her sorority sisters talking to her mom’s friend about her and she said that Sofia had two back-to-back urinary tract infections.”

Nicholas is not the only victim of this emerging epidemic. People everywhere between the ages of 16 and 24 are metaphorically dropping like flies. A recent poll revealed that about 67 percent of victims were female. In 100 percent of the recorded incidents involving variations of “I’m literally dead,” the victims were relatively basic compared to their counterparts. In cases where the phrase was preceded by the words, “Oh my god” the death was longer and more excruciating. Not surprisingly, abbreviating to “OMG” increased the shearing pain at least six fold.

Social scientists are puzzled by this ubiquitous phenomenon but also collectively assert that no efforts should be made to stop it.

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