Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I can't help it, I take things literally

There it was, the front page headline of the local daily newspaper "Yolo County youths can work off their library fines -- literally."

What a wonderful idea I thought. Put the deadbeats to work shelving books. But that's not the plan. A new forgiveness program will allow youths to pay off their overdue fines by reading.

I have no problem at all with the program. Anything to get people to read is to be highly commended. Maybe the reporters for the newspaper should do more reading, like a grammar book to learn the proper use of "literally." Come on reporters, you work in a college town for goodness sakes. Just don't use the word since most of the time you use it incorrectly.

1 comment:

Marianaria Sra. bibliotecaria said...

I'm with you on the misuse of "literally," but in this case I think it's ok.

If "to work off" means to pay off a monetary debt by performing some task instead, then reading is a task like anything else. The fact that it doesn't involve manual labor or exertion, or doesn't result in any direct benefit to the library (in the way that reshelving would) wouldn't seem to matter. The readers are still, literally, working off the debt.

Now, for people who say "I literally died," I would suggest working off their grammatical errors by going to their nearest Guillotine Training School and volunteering as an executionee (I guess that's a word) for the training class.