Like, Let’s Talk About “Like”
People have used the word like in several different ways for hundreds of years. My dictionary lists nine entries for like: as a noun, verb. adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection.
I want to address like as an interjection. It’s the ninth listing and means “used chiefly in informal speech as a meaningless expletive or intensifier or to lessen the emphasis of a preceding or following word or phrase.”
It is this usage I object to so much. To me, it’s another way of saying, um or uh. It makes one sound less intelligent.
I remember when I was in college, the funniest thing I ever heard someone say was one sorority girl to another, “Well, do you, like, like him?”
If you go back to the original 1969 cartoon “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” you’ll hear Shaggy use like this way in probably every episode.
What I find interesting is that this usage dates back to 1778, which tells me it’s not going away.
I prefer that people simply say nothing instead of uttering like, uh or um. It takes discipline but can be done. And you’ll sound so much more intelligent.
Until next time! Use the right words!
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