Two Words: Facetious & Literally

Family looking at new car

Facetious is a word you hear often in everyday use, but I doubt that many know the exact meaning.  When used to its full extent facetious (fa-c-shus) means inappropriately making fun of something that is serious.  Today we use it also to mean just making fun of something.  Facetious is an adjective, but there is also facetiously (adverb) and facetiousness (noun).

Most do not consider facetious to be insulting, just inappropriate.  Sarcastic is usually associated with something that is insulting.

“As a tongue in cheek remark John reported that President Biden ran a marathon.”

“Bill had no idea that his remarks on the color of the house was taken as clearly being facetious.”

“Judy never spoke to Aaron again because of his facetious remarks at her retirement party.”

Separator Black Fancy

Literally is a word but has become overused and superfluous in daily conversation.  If the overuse of “Literally” does not drive you crazy then you have a high tolerance for pain, literally.  You are probably a person who adds the word “Like,” “Right,” or “So” to every sentence. 

The problem with the overuse of literally is that it can often just be left out of the conversation with no loss of meaning.  People now use it to add emphasis to a statement when it is not needed.

“John literally drove 70 miles an hour to get there on time.” is no more correct than “John drove 70 miles an hour to get there on time.”

To say “The book weighed ten pounds” might be a literal statement.  But “The book literally weighed ten pounds” is a not correct use of the word.

“Kathy was literally blown away by the new car’s features.” Is no better than “Kathy was blown away by the new car’s features.”

“I literally died laughing at the joke.”  You cannot die laughing, so this is also an improper use of literally.

The proper use of “Literally” is to show that something that is normally abstract is to be taken as fact.