Daily Archives: January 4, 2008

Grammar Wednesday on a Friday

I found this bit at Bo’s blog:

“We had 300 people outside, literally freezing to death,” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton marveled on Tuesday before a crowd in Iowa City.

No word on what she and/or her campaign staff ultimately did with the bodies, or how far along they were when she made the remark.

The Clinton body count is serious business.

I have a deep and abiding appreciation for Bo’s sense of humor.

He’d gotten the quote from the NYTimes website – here, in fact.  Now, I know that the NYT people were quoting Senator Clinton directly, and that one is not supposed to correct the grammar in direct quotes, but come on!

Literally means literally.  Our language uses the term as hyperbole, but I maintain that it’s important to used the word literally when that’s what is meant.  No one, I suspect, was in immediate danger of expiring due to hypothermia (that’s when one’s body temperature is too low – hyperthermia is when it’s too high – I always used to get them confused).  There may have been people in literal danger of frostbite or hypothermia, but that’s not what she said.

Of course, there were other great quotes in the article; it seems that the grueling campaign schedule has taken its toll on the eloquence of the candidates:

“I won’t remember Iowans,” Mitt Romney declared in Altoona the other day before his wife, Ann, corrected him. (He meant that he would “never forget” Iowans.)

Mike Huckabee offered his “apologies” last week over the killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan. (He meant “sympathies,” his campaign clarified.)

Sleeping much?

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