ROTHENBURGER – We live in an age of exaggeration, and we aren’t listening

Trump word cloud. (Image:

IN ANTICIPATION of the new year, I will get my almost-annual rant about how we abuse the English language off my chest. This time, my gripe is with our impulse to make everything more than it is.

It would not be an exaggeration to say we live in an age of exaggeration. We like to blame politicians for exaggerating but I’m not so sure they don’t take their cues from us, the masses.

Let’s get a couple of the obvious ones out of the way first. The use of “literally,” for example. It’s currently the most misused word in our language.

If I was to say, “The constant misuse of the word ‘literally’ is literally driving me insane,” it would mean it was actually driving me nuts, as in send for the folks in white coats and take me away.

Nowadays, though, it’s used simply for emphasis.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (6402 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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