I was like, standing at the store window and admiring the display when like, a stranger came right up behind me and like, asked me if I had any change and like, I didn’t know what to say like, what would you have done?
Like, I don’t know! I mean I really don’t know, not so much in reply to the question but something else. I mean, what can I say? Oh no, I’m getting tangled up in language; I’m catching some kind of disease. What is it? It’s not a disease. I think it’s a habit common amongst the younger crowd. It is the repetition of words or phrases that could easily be omitted and the meaning of the sentence would remain unscathed.
I fear that often this need to use a word like, (oops!) such as, LIKE is more pronounced when the speaker is hugely excited in recounting an incident. For instance, imagine that 13 year-old Madge is describing her experience where she had an autograph signed by a Rock star.“Can you believe it? Like, there were like, a million kids like, pushing and shoving and like, I just …like, I dunno, like, pushed this guy on my left and like ……etc”.
Of course there is another case of using, what can be called a “filler” and that is the phrase “I mean”. I’m afraid sometimes we are all guilty of this.
Ivan says to his friend after receiving his assignment back from the teacher,“I can’t understand this, I mean, I worked like a dog on this. It isn’t fair, I mean,….look at this, he underlines everything in red, I mean,…..”
Where did Ivan get the idea of using I mean? His teacher certainly didn’t recommend its usage. He probably picked it up from general conversation around him and it became a pattern. It isn’t said in an excitable manner but simply used as a filler. I’m sure his teacher didn’t underline that phrase in red, because it’s only used when speaking.
A young friend of mine told me that her teacher in High School practically made it a crime if he heard the word like used in a presentation. In fact, the student would receive a failing grade.
Perhaps, we need to make the bar higher in the classroom.
What do you think?