Literacy ain’t what it used to be
So the wise old owls at the OED have inserted the feline betwixt the doves by proclaiming that literally now officially means metaphorically. Good, I say. If we didn’t allow our language some evolutionary leeway I’d be writing in Latin, ergo nonovus comprendalotumus, if you get my drift.
For donkey’s years, the common usage of literally has had an intended meaning of ‘not literally’, so why anyone would kick up a stink about it now defeats me. As a fully paid up member of the copywriters’ union (I am, literally), my advice is simple: write for the audience, in the manner of delivery they would expect from whomsoever you represent.
And if that means suggesting a new brand of chilli sauce will ‘Literally blow your head off’ – then go for it. After all, there’s always the ASA to adjudicate for those who can’t get no satisfaction.