In the episode of the big bang theory, S04E11, Zack, Penny's date makes a statement:

I haven't been to a comic book store in literally a million years

What kind of statement is this, I know this is not correct, What group or what kind of statement is this?

  • Could someone explain why this question was downvoted? I'm new and a bit confused. – S Conroy Jul 27 '18 at 14:45
  • 1
    @SConroy It wasn’t my downvote, but Stack Exchange has a few policies designed to make the site a high quality Q & A repository. Fundamental to that is that questions must be on topic, must not be of the ‘do my homework’ style, and should be potentially answerable in an authoritative manner. Answers correspondingly should carry logical argument, references to established authority, or perhaps be answered by an authority (e.g. a professional linguist answering questions in linguistics, or a New Zealander answering a question about New Zealand English). – Lawrence Jul 27 '18 at 15:43
  • 2
    @SConroy ... Someone has voted to close this question as being ‘unclear’. Perhaps they weren’t sure what the OP meant by “kind of statement” - there are no examples given of what ‘kind’ might mean to the OP. It’s not a precise measure: members of the community (including you and me) use our up/down, close/reopen and delete/undelete votes to help curate the database of questions and answers for the benefit of future visitors. – Lawrence Jul 27 '18 at 15:50
  • 1
    @Lawrence. Thanks. I imagine it's pretty impossible to avoid a subjective component in what is a good question. I should probably take a look at the FAQS to get a better idea how it all works. – S Conroy Jul 27 '18 at 15:50
  • 1
    @SConroy Good idea! Note that even if a question was otherwise judged to be poorly constructed, if you find it interesting (and generally on topic), you are always at liberty to offer a substantiated answer. Of course, others are free to agree or disagree, and to vote accordingly. The basic FAQs are in the help menu above, but many policies and policy specifics are discussed and decided on English Language & Usage Meta. Have a look there after looking through the official FAQs. You can find FAQ discussions by typing [FAQ] (in square brackets) in the Meta site’s search bar. – Lawrence Jul 27 '18 at 15:59

Exaggeration or, more formally, hyperbole.

extravagant exaggeration (such as "mile-high ice-cream cones")

| improve this answer | |
  • Hello, James. Please include pertinent quotes as links decay over time. ...although wikipedia rates only a little over UD here. – Cascabel Jul 27 '18 at 19:17
  • @Cascabel Really? That excerpt wasn't enough to make the meaning clear? OK. I'll add a bit more ... – user184130 Jul 27 '18 at 19:20
  • @Cascabel I just don't understand why you think the bit I quoted was not adequate. – user184130 Jul 27 '18 at 19:30
  • 1
    @Cascabel. OK, sorry, I thought I had included that quote. I certainly intended to. – user184130 Jul 27 '18 at 19:34

Literally used like this (the real meaning here is actually figuratively i.e. the opposite of literally) is one of those words purists love to hate.

Dictionary.com lists it as one of those words that can ruin your sentence. https://www.dictionary.com/e/s/umwords/#literally

I don't know if there is a group word for such statements. Purists would probably just say it's wrong and feel smug.

| improve this answer | |
  • Some linguists use the term "zombie rule" for things that people erroneously think are wrong but the prohibition just won't die! – user184130 Jul 27 '18 at 14:27
  • I love the use of the word "literally" here to exaggerate even more the already exaggerated "million years" ! – user184130 Jul 27 '18 at 14:41
  • I've no problem being voted down (well I do, but that's just my ego acting up...), but would appreciate a reason, so if I'm wrong, I can learn why. @James Radom. Nice phrase, will be appropriating at the next opportunity! – S Conroy Jul 27 '18 at 15:26
  • 1
    Sorry, not my DV, but there are some users here who feel an answer to a close-worthy question merits down voting. Those of us who have been around for awhile know pretty much who close-votes every new Q. I will uptick to take you outa negative territory, since you have fulfilled requirements for a good answer. – Cascabel Jul 27 '18 at 18:49
  • 1
    Please check out this corner of our site and see how rep garners access to privileges. – Cascabel Jul 27 '18 at 19:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.