Bonita Vista Crusader

Student run newspaper of Bonita Vista High School

Crusader Column, Opinion

“Like, literally. . .”

Graphic courtesy of


While eavesdropping in on conversations occurring in public, I find myself getting bothered by little things. Lately, the issue that has been getting under my skin is abuse.

Word abuse that is.

It is a tragedy when a delicate word is torn and twisted around until it loses its meaning. Especially the l-word: “literally”.

Nowadays people misuse this word, thinking it is permitted by the English gods to do such thing and that there is no harm in distorting the value of the subjects at hand. Typically this misconduct comes about as a means of expressing the seriousness of the matter, for example, the exquisiteness of a cupcake.
It starts off as a what you think is a simple conversation as you try to explain how amazing the newest raspberry chocolate chip Sprinkles cupcake is.

Before you know it, as a means of emphasis for the godliness of the cupcake-frosting combination, the word slips out and you say, “this is literally the best cupcake.” A statement based purely on bias that could easily be made accurate adding only a few words, something along the lines of “I’ve ever tried”.

When facing reality you may acknowledge the cupcake’s mediocrity and the fallacy of your statement, considering that the actual odds of that being true are quite slim. In fact, there are ninety-two registered cupcake bakeries in the state of California alone, which adds up to approximately 1,932 cupcake types, not counting the packaged goods carried by supermarkets or orders you can place at Costco or Ralphs.

It is almost scary how careless we become about word choice when not making a conscious effort to write an essay in English class. We let our emotions get the best of our ability to speak and end up sounding like modern day cavemen.

You see, I too understand the fascination of having the power to be dramatic and over exaggerate, but I only appreciate it when done correctly playing by the rules of the English language.

It is no wonder our elders cringe as soon as we open our mouths to voice our opinions. We go the extra mile in trying to sound “hip” but instead sound close to an episode of Clueless when we acquaint with each other, speaking in acronyms and abbreviated form as if it is easier to do so.

Minor steps can change the perception the older generation has of us, leaving them more satisfied with what will be the United States’ future leaders.

Hopefully by default, it will exterminate the dependency we have on autocorrect and cellphones as a primary source of communication. Through replacing word ignorance with sarcasm and irony, we can shift the stereotypes placed on us for the better and get some laughs out of it too.


  1. Kianna Brevig

    I too find myself in a state of non-stop eye rolling due to the limited vocabulary of our generation. No longer do words such as awesome and ridiculous hold any literary value. But I don’t think it’s something our generation does by choice. They way we talk is almost at times instinctive, like our generation has brainwashed us into speaking the way we do.

    I believe that, just like all ridiculous fads, with time these nasty verbal habits will be broken and humanity will once again return to a state where people can express themselves with meaningful words.

    Hopefully it doesn’t literally take like forever.

  2. Gabe Otero

    I’m not exactly sure what the problem with “literally” is, or any other new words or usages of those words, for that matter. Language changes, if it didn’t, we’d be stuck in an archaic and incredibly unruly language. This video gives a great example. Imagine if we were stuck back in Shakespeare’s time. would they look down upon us? Probably. Is that justified, just because our language is different? I would argue it is not.

    And, really, my other question/comment would be, why does one generation have to fight for the constant recognition and approval of an older one? If we make new words or use them differently, what of it? Sure, it’s “wrong” but then again, so is any figurative language. People change language to express things in the ways that they want to express them, so, in my opinion, putting barriers on languages puts barriers on the ways we express ourselves. I mean, we could surely get rid of all figurative language and still be able to explain ourselves, but why should we? Sometimes things sound better, sometimes they don’t, but I don’t think that means we as a generation need to change our entire register in order to abide by the MLA handbook on English…

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