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What Makes “Figuratively” Different From “Literally”?

What are the Differences Between “Figuratively” vs “Literally"?


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The words "figuratively" and “literally” definitely have different definitions. “Figuratively” is often used to describe metaphors which don’t really mean what they seem as expected from a figure of speech. “Literally” on the other hand, is the opposite of “figuratively” for if you use this word in a sentence or a phrase, then you are stating that the expression has a definite and literal meaning. However, hyperboles can contain the word "literally" as well. Therefore, it can be considered as “figuratively" in those phrases.

Using “Figuratively”

If you want to exaggerate an expression, then you just have to use if figuratively. When you state something like “I died when I saw them together,” you definitely didn’t pass away at that exact moment, you just felt like you’re dying inside because of the situation. This is an example of a figure of speech which has a figurative meaning.

Actually, you don’t need to mention the word “figuratively” when using figures of speech simply because a person with a common sense would immediately be able to determine that you’re just exaggerating.

Using “Literally”

The word “literally” is commonly used to show that the situation really happened to the speaker. Let’s take the sentence “I literally fainted when I saw them together” as an example. The speaker of this sentence did not just felt sad with the situation. He or she certainly fainted because of what one has seen.

Hyperboles Containing "Literally"

Don’t be confused when hyperboles contain the word "literally". It’s “legal” for this type of figure of speech to use them for emphasis. For example when you say something like “My best friend literally stole the spotlight for me”, you’re just stating the truth that your best friend is such an attention getter and that he or she didn’t really stole a lightning equipment from you.

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