Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

NYC Bar Policy: Kick Out Anyone Who Says 'Literally"

This is literally true. Apparently not ticked off enough by tip-skipping patrons, drunken brawls, slurred boasts, and the state of a public house's restroom at the end of the night, one New York City bar is literally banning patrons from using the word 'literally' under its roof. A sign, posted on the premises of the Continental in Manhattan, notifies patrons that such illicit illiterateness will require their departure. After finishing their drink, naturally.

Literally vs. Figuratively

It's certainly among the most misused words in the English language. As lawyers, law students, English majors, and virtually all of Twitter can attest to, hyperactive use of the word "literally" to describe things that aren't literal at all is not a good look. It's a pretty clear-cut case of careless writing that legal stylists frown upon, even if some dictionaries are moving away from the literal definition of the word.

And it's simply not good practice. Because saying "I'm literally going to kill you," can actually be a threat to kill someone. Pulling out the "I didn't know what literally meant" defense doesn't look good in the court of public grammar shaming.

Parting Shot Before Last Call

This policy seems destined for a short shelf life. The Continental is scheduled to shut down in the near future following its bankruptcy. Which may be a good thing, because grammar policing at the bar isn't something we'd recommend for someone looking to have a good time, or the bar looking to give them one.

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