Three More Lost Words

When discussing words that have lost their effectiveness or, by misuse, their definition I have come across three more words that need a lifeline:

1. Literally . . . The following statement was actually said on a prominent 24-hour news channel yesterday: “The senator was literally blown away when he heard the results of the vote.” So he’s dead? Literally is something that actually happened. If the word is completely left out, stating that the senator was just blown away, everyone understands that it is meant figuratively.

2. Affect/Effect . . . I have covered this one before, but I notice it so many times in blog posts, various printed articles, as well as spoken. Affect (verb) and Effect (noun) are the best ways to remember how to use it. The effect of the ride affected his ability of walk to the team bus.

3. Surreal . . . defined as intense irrational reality of a dream . . . this does not mean that when, one glorious day, I am able to ride my bike in the mountains of France that it will be surreal. Surreal is so overused that the effectiveness has dimmed. Allow me to give two examples: The surreal event of tanks occupying the small town in Russia left the little boy numb all over. The flowers of the coral reef had a surreal impact on the diver, as the colors floated and pulsed underwater. Being at Disney World, after wanting to be there your entire life, doesn’t seem to appear as intensely irrational. Winning the World Cup isn’t surreal if you play on a team that is very good and was favored to be a possible winner.

7 thoughts on “Three More Lost Words

  1. Yep, the over use of “surreal” really gets my goat. It’s sadly a term that has crept into popular consciousness as a result of endless celebrity drivel. And while I’m at it, what about “blessed” as in,”I feel really blessed that I can get out in the middle of winter to ride my bike to work…” It’s becoming the new “surreal”…

  2. My eight year-old daughter literally abuses literally way too much. It’s literally driving me batty. The affect is effecting me surreally.

    Got it!

    I am literally laughing out loud. Right now. While my obvious abuse of your comment section is taking it a bit far, I do thoroughly agree with all three.

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