Figuratively and Literally
by Dwayne Phillips
We often use a “figure of speech” to describe something. Well, that’s nice, but I know that such-and-such cannot literally do something-or-other. Can we please have some literal descriptions?
I have recently been reading constantly about a very popular software app. I won’t mention which one because that would take us off the topic of figurative and literal descriptions.
All the descriptions of this very popular software app use figures of speech. An example figure of speech is, “This software manages that thing.”
Well, no it doesn’t. People manage things. Sometimes people write software to help them manage things. The software does some specific tasks that help the people do their job.
Those specific tasks can be described literally. Please speak literally instead of figuratively.
For example, this piece of software appears to manage things and actually helps me manage things when it:
reads parameters that I entered in a text file
reads status from a text file
uses if…then statements that use the parameters and the status
calls control routines based on the if…then statements
Why don’t we have more literal descriptions? I believe the answer is that it is more difficult to understand something well enough in context to describe it literally.
It’s simply harder. Fatigue always wins.
Oh, thank you for the effort required to describe something literally. Now I understand.