I've started getting suggestions from friends on their pet peeves and this one is one that has both been suggested by a few friends, and been one that I had in mind. In fact, I've been slowly grinding through the whole How I Met Your Mother series on Netflix for the past several months, and this English language crime came up a few weeks ago. It's perfect. The funny thing is, that since I've been thinking about it, I've noticed that I've actually been using the word literally way too often myself. I'm not using it in place of figuratively, but I am using it too often. I'm not sure if I've started using literally so much more because I've been thinking about it, or if I always did and now I'm noticing. But, I'm working on it.
Here is what Grammarist has to say about it:
In its usual sense, literally means exactly, in a strict sense, or to the letter. For example, when someone says, “I am literally foaming at the mouth,” this literally means real foam is coming out of his or her mouth. Figuratively means in a metaphorical sense—that is, not in a real sense but in a way that is expressed through figures of speech. So when someone says, “I am figuratively foaming at the mouth,” we can infer that he or she is using the idiom foaming at the mouth, which means very angry, and that no mouth foam is actually present.
Here's what Ted Mosby has to say about it:
Geez Sherbatsky, get it right, would ya?