Not that I expect to find English used correctly in spam email but I recently received a message with the following subject line:

This Literally “Scrubs” The Air In Your Home

I'm willing to accept the use of the quotation marks as scare quotes to indicate that the product doesn't actually scrub the air. But is Literally actually being used correctly since, assuming that the product works as implied, it would literally "scrub" the air even if it doesn't literally scrub it? If so, would the following subject line have the same meaning as the original and also be "correct?"

This "Literally" Scrubs The Air In Your Home

I admit that it might be best to avoid both of these lines but I like them more than the way "literally" is so often incorrectly used.


The word 'literally' is informally used just to emphasize what is stated.

Literally (sense 3, OALD)

(informal) used to emphasize a word or phrase, even if it is not actually true in a literal sense.

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