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6 words you can use to replace ‘literally’

This is literally going to be a blog post on the word ‘literally’. I understand the irony. It hasn’t passed me by.

The truth of the matter is this: we’re addicted to using the word ‘literally’ as hyperbole in everyday chatter. It’s annoying. It’s contagious and it has to stop.

I’m a helpful creature at heart, so I thought I’d round up a couple of alternative suggestions to the word ‘literally’, so you can try and save yourself. Before it’s too late.


What does literally mean?

Before I talk you out of excessive use, I feel it’s important to tell you what the word ‘literally’ means. It is the opposite of the word ‘figuratively’, which is used to indicate a departure from fact and hints at a metaphorical situation. In contrast, ‘literally’ means the event you’re describing actually happened. No exaggerations. The whole and unbiased truth.

So when you say, “OMG I literally died”, you’re telling someone that you died. In real life. You really died. I’m assuming that if you’ve the breath to tell someone that you died, you didn’t actually die.

So…yeah.


Words you can use to replace ‘literally’

1. Actually

The first and most obvious substitute.  As ‘literally’ is being used to suggest that the speaker’s statement is authentic, ‘actually’ offers a softer, slightly less annoying alternative.

I’m so hungry I could actually eat my own face.

 

2. Honestly

Like ‘actually’ above, ‘honestly’ is a great word to make your story or statement sound truthful and authentic.

You should have seen Sarah last night—she honestly looked like a hot mess.

 

3. Not figuratively

‘Figuritively’ is the direct opposite of the word ‘literally’, so if you feel as though you have to go hard with your statement, a negative form is the best way of using the word indirectly.

The weather’s so hot, I’m not figuratively going to melt.

 

4. Really

Another obvious one, but so often hidden behind the social disease that is ‘literally’. ‘Really’ is a great alternative because it has that same extreme vibe that ‘literally’ users are looking for.

OMFG I’m really obsessed with these waffles.

 

5. Properly

Here’s me giving you a colloquial alternative. Because I know we don’t want to be super serious with the English language all the time, especially not when chatting with mates and trying to sound young. So why not give ‘properly’ a try?

Gary properly got his ass kicked last night. It was savage.

 

6. Practically

Almost, but not quite—you get me? Whereas the word ‘literally’ tells you it 100% happened, ‘practically’ is telling you is very nearly did. Which is almost as good when you’re looking for a new word to use.

I practically died laughing.

 

There you go; 6 alternatives to your fave word. Use them. Please. 

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