Vice President Joe Biden took the stage last night in an effort to rally the Democratic masses. His goal? To bolster President Barack Obama’s electoral chances (we fact-checked some of his statements earlier this morning). While there were some noteworthy stretches of the truth presented in his speech, Biden didn’t appear, on the surface, to make any major gaffes — that is, until some journalists watching his address realized that he was misusing the word “literally.”

Yes, literally.

Apparently, Biden improperly used the word numerous times throughout his speech. “Literally,” which means “in a literal manner” or “exactly” is regularly confused as meaning “virtually” or “nearly,” The Huffington Post reports. So, when making figurative statements, it’s a poor word to use.

Watch a video compilation of Biden’s “literally” bloopers, below:

The Obama camp apparently sought to capitalize on Biden’s errors. The Washington Post reports that the campaign purchased a Twitter ad based on the vice-president’s usage of the word:

Vice President Biden’s frequent use of the word “folks” and frequently incorrect use of the words “literally” during his acceptance speech Wednesday earned him lots of mockery on Twitter.

It appears someone in the Obama campaign noticed. They took out an ad on the term “literally” on Twitter, so that searches for the term turn up a promoted tweet by @BarackObama.

But Juli Weiner of Vanity Fair actually defended Biden’s use of “literally,” writing:

But were we incorrect to condemn Biden’s vocabulary as sin? Is there not some merit in such a singularly irreplaceable word? Verily, in retrospect, we believe there is. 

Thesaurus.com lists several synonyms for “literally”—“actually, completely, correctly, direct, directly, faithfully, indisputably, letter by letter, literatim, not figuratively, plainly, precisely, really, rightly, rigorously, sic, simply, straight, strictly, to the letter, truly, undeviatingly, undisputably, unerringly, unmistakably, verbatim, veritably”—but none of these, with the exception of the hilarious and criminally underused “not figuratively,” has the poetry of its synonymic sibling.
Go ahead and say it.

After all, in Biden’s defense, it’s a common mistake to make. What do you think? Read more about the use of “literally” and “figuratively” here and let us know in the comments section, below.

(H/T: The Huffington Post)