Quick Tip:
Avoid Using “Literally” and “Virtually”

Be careful when using the words “literally” and “virtually” in your writing. They’re often misused by writers – even some of the best.

“Literally” means “true and factual.” Misusing this word can create funny images in your reader’s mind. I recently read this from a well-known author: “I was literally blasted out of my reverie.” Literally blasted? The pieces must have flown all over the place.

“Virtually” means “almost, nearly, or close at hand.” You’ll frequently see it used when the writer meant “literally.” For example: “It was virtually the most exciting experience I ever had.”

As with most adverbs (words that end in “-ly”) – it’s best to completely avoid using these two words.

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Published: August 21, 2006

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