I was taken aback by the very first sentence of John Balentine’s piece on the Opinion page of the February 2 American Journal. I was not aware that “Washington … was literally on fire last week” as he claimed. How many buildings were burned? Was there any loss of life? As a professional writer, Balentine should not be making this kind of obvious mistake and the editorial staff should have caught it. If a high school student used literal in this way, his English teacher would have literally given him a D.