What is the Difference between Literally and Figuratively?

Literally and figuratively are two different aspects, but when conveying something to the readers both should be used aptly. Literally signifies exactly, in a broader sense, without any exaggeration, it states about the thing, accurately what happens. On the other hand, figuratively refers to metaphorical sense. It means the thing is delineated metaphorically, not in a practical way. An example can make it clear. If we say, ‘I am literally foaming at the mouth’, then it means the foam is coming out from the mouth, but if we say, ‘I am figuratively foaming at the mouth’, then it signifies that I am very angry as foaming at the mouth is an idiom.

However, ‘literally’ is an adjective and it means actual.  It is used in an exact sense.

Example: I made a literal translation of this book.

Here, it reflects the fact that someone has truly translated the book.
Besides, ‘literally’ word is used to intensify things. When it is said that I am literally on fire that does not mean that someone is seriously on fire. Or else, sometimes, we say that ‘he was laughing so hard that he literally almost died.’ Here, literally is used to stress the thing. Moreover, in the formal writing, this kind of statement is not accepted.
On the other hand, figuratively is an adjective and it comprises different meaning from the word literally. It signifies making use of figure of speech. In short, where literally is just free from any metaphor, figurative is all about the dealing with different types of figures of speech.

Example: I could figuratively eat a factory of ice cream.

Figuratively reflects the analogous sense, which is not exact. However, to make your writing well-appreciated, you must use these two separately. Make sure, use literally in an exact manner, not just as an intensifier and add figuratively to convey a thing which is not exact.

Example: Sand feels rough (Literally)

Sand is solid water. (Figuratively)

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Author: Ella Madison

I am a blogger interested in English Grammar and going to write the blog on grammar topics. It would help the students in learning grammar efficiently.

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