Around lunchtime yesterday I overheard a coworker say “I’m literally so hungry right now”
Though misuse of the word literally was always common, it appears in the last year or so it
has lost any semblance of its previous meaning.
Is there a better word to use now when you want the reader to understand that your words should be taken at their literal meaning and not as a simple intensifier?
My suggestion would be (for your friend) to just drop the word in such contexts. It’s a tic.
In most cases, I think you & your friend will find that (a) it is not intensifying anything anyway and (b) no intensification is needed.
IOW, just say I am so hungry now!