OMG! Internet-based hyperbole

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a New York Times article about Internet-based hyperbole…

My least favourite error is when someone says or writes, “I literally died.” Nope, they didn’t! That’s because the word literally means something really happened. So if they’re talking they couldn’t possibly have died.

To me, using such an expression makes people appear young and foolish and, possibly, badly educated. But that doesn’t stop them from saying it.

Nor does it stop them from saying a host of other ridiculous things, as outlined by Jessica Bennett in a recent New York Times fashion and style piece. Here are some of the other expressions she ‘outed’:

THIS (for when a thing is so awesome you are at a loss for how to describe it); feeeeeels (for something that gives you multiple feelings); unreal!!!! (for when a thing is totally believable and only mildly amusing); yassssss (because “yes” will no longer do); -est (greatest, prettiest, cutest, funniest) EVER, which now applies to virtually all things; and “I can’t even,” for when something leaves you so emotive that you simply cannot even explain yourself.

There’s also a;lsdkjfa;lsdkgjs; meaning “I’m so excited/angry/speechless that all I can do is literally slam my hands/head/body against the keyboard” (thus producing a series of gibberish that usually involves the letters a, s, d and k).

I have three children in their early 20s, so I thought I had kept reasonably current with this stuff, but some of it surprises even me. Read the entire article for an insight into new conversational trends… and for a good laugh.

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