by Gwynn Guilford
Consider Doll's example. Who, when bringing a friend a gin and tonic, would rather hear “You are wrong, and I am right, and you are at least a little bit of an idiot, I asked for a vodka soda,” rather than “Actually, I asked for a vodka soda.” (Presumably starting off with “Thank you, but” would be a literally unspeakable horror.)
Dish readers also had some opinions on the dos and don'ts of popular adverbs. On literally:
A fun fact about this awful word: it has two contradictory definitions according to Webster. 1: in a literal sense or manner : actually 2: in effect : virtually. How can a word mean one thing and the exact opposite of that thing at the same time? Why don't we admit this word doesn't mean anything anymore and just takes up space in a conversation.
And a new nomination:
"Literally" and "actually" are bad, but "basically" is by far the worst. In almost every instance it is used, it is completely unnecessary. I hear it used probably a hundred times a day and it never changes the meaning of a statement one iota.