Literally, Thanks Alot

Grammar, although a constant mechanism of concern at the offices of mm/c, was the subject of interest at one of our recent weekly staff meetings. After listening to the grammar annoyances, irritations and grievances of my fellow colleagues, it prompted me to consider my personal pet peeves in the land of today’s written English word.

The only nearly failing grade I have ever received on a paper was the result of my inclusion of the misspelling of the noun “a lot” as “alot.” I know, the horror! I have yet to fully recuperate from the trauma, and to this day still shudder when I see the common noun missing it’s necessary space. Years later, I came upon a gloriously literal illustration of this language infraction in one of my favorite blogs, Hyperbole & a Half, in which the author has created an imaginary horned bear-like creature, The Alot, in an attempt to find some humor in the grammatical short coming of others in a post entitled, “The Alot is Better Than You at Everything.”



alot 3

Like the author, I now imagine this hideous magical creature partaking in the events described by offending individuals. I suggest you do the same. I also recommend reading another of the author’s illustrative guides (one that I have considered printing and taking to Dr. appointments), “A Better Pain Scale, or, Boyfriend Doesn’t Have Ebola, Probably.”

Next, I feel as though it is my duty (even as an admittedly semi-frequent offender) to denounce the incorrect use of the word literally.



1. In a literal manner; word for word: translated the Greek passage literally.

2. In a literal or strict sense: Don’t take my remarks literally.

Meaning: used in sentences describing something that in all actuality and truthfulness happened in real life, so help you god. Some examples of incorrect usage I have been privy to recently: “I literally died when I read your text!” Well now, the fact that your lungs are still providing enough oxygen for your brain to allow you to respond dexterously with your tiny texting fingers proves this statement incorrect! Or better yet, as overheard yesterday at Panera, “I literally ate my body weight in cookies today.” 135 lbs of cookies!? Bravo! Unbelievably incredible! Call Guinness, my girl, your world record write up awaits!  Unfortunately, from personal experience, correcting anyone who uses this word incorrectly just makes you look like a wise-ass curmudgeon.

Finally, just for fun I will leave you with this.

CAVEAT: This slideshow contains egregious breaches in grammatical law – may cause uncontrollable shuddering and nausea in educated persons unable to cope with blatant misuse of the English language (for those of you in the mm/c office, you know who you are, be warned).

Image source Hyperbole and a Half

Posted by Jenna

2 responses to “Literally, Thanks Alot

  1. Tom in Wayland

    “it’s” -> “its”
    short coming -> shortcoming
    Like the author -> As the author does
    write up -> write-up

  2. Tom in Wayland

    …but I’m totally with you on “literally!” Good stuff.

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