I think some people (most people) need to be reminded of a few things.
- opaque = not able to be seen through. as in, a wall.
translucent = allowing light, but not detailed images to pass through. as in, stained glass.
transparent = allowing light to pass through so that objects can be distinctly seen. as in, glasses.
- subconscious = of or concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one’s actions and feelings. as in, you’re awake.
unconscious = not conscious. as in, you’re asleep. ASLEEP.
- literally = free from exaggeration or distortion. exactly copied; realistic as opposed to abstract or impressionistic.
figuratively = what you literally mean when you say “there were literally a million people there.
Words have a lot of weight, and when people ignore that, words lose their meaning, and therefore, we lose our manner of expressing ourselves.
EDIT: Someone has brought up the excellent point that language is an evolving thing, and that many words have changed meaning over the course of several tens of years, or even hundreds. The reason that I bring up these particular cases, however, is because the word that people are actually looking for when they say something exists already. For example, if you were to say “There were literally a million people there,” you’re not using the word “literally” because there is no other word to express what you mean. Taking the word “literally” in that context is not filling a void in which the word that you’re looking for does not exist. What you actually mean is that “there were figuratively a million people there,” which sounds just as cool and is just as fun to say. (It may not have the same alliteration, but say it. It rolls off the tongue.) If you replace the word “figuratively” here with “literally”, then when you find yourself in a situation where there actually are literally a million people, you will need to find a new way to say it, because the perfectly good word we already had has been changed to mean something representational.