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Thread: literally


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    #1

    literally

    Hi,

    could you please tell me whether the word "literally" is used correctly in the following sentece:

    We had little time to arrange necessary formalities so we had to literally run at the airport.

    Thank you very much.

    Hanka

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: literally

    Possibly - if your feet were both off the ground at the same time! If you were just walking hurriedly, then no. But the infraction is not as gross as this:

    We were so late that we had to literally burn rubber on the way to the airport.

    b


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    #3

    Re: literally

    Not sure I understand In case of "walking hurriedly", which expression should be used instead of "literally" meaning that it was exactly how I say it and not just a metaphor.

    Thank you.

    Hanka


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    #4

    Re: literally

    I thought "litterally" means "without exagerration"

    Hanka

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    #5

    Re: literally

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanka View Post
    I thought "litterally" means "without exagerration"
    Hanka
    So if you didn't actually run, literally would be slightly misleading, in this context, to a standard, formal English speaker. Instead, you could say 'We had little time to arrange necessary formalities so we nearly had to run at the airport.'

    b

    PS
    Or you could say 'practically had to run' - an ironic choice of words since originally practically meant in 'practice/in fact'. But today it just means 'very nearly'.
    Last edited by BobK; 15-Nov-2006 at 18:10. Reason: ps added


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    #6

    Re: literally

    I think that in this case it really means "running" but not with both feet off the ground at the same time

    Hanka

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    #7

    Re: literally

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanka View Post
    I think that in this case it really means "running" but not with both feet off the ground at the same time
    Hanka
    OK, I was being a bit pedantic.

    b

    PS
    A line I thought I'd never be able to use: 'Pedants of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your πεδάι. [That's Greek for 'chains', the origin of the word pedant.]

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