"Like" abuse redivivus

JAMES H COPELAND jamescopeland20 at MSN.COM
Sat Apr 12 15:10:50 UTC 2008

What is as bad now, if not worse, than "like" was then, is the maddening use of "you know".  It has driven me up more walls than I can count!
Jim Copeland
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jonathan Lighter<mailto:wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM> 
  Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 8:33 AM
  Subject: "Like" abuse redivivus

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  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU<mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>>
  Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM<mailto:wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>>
  Subject:      "Like" abuse redivivus

  Actually, it's never been gone, but thirty years ago "like" abuse was a big deal among the "Death of English" crowd. Recent developments in global warming and so forth have rather shunted it from notice.

    On campus yesterday I heard a young university woman explaining excitedly, "So, like, it was like I was like that's _impossible_!  And, like, she was like 'No! It isn't!' Like, then I was like it still sounds kind of crazy like."

    Admittedly this is not an exact transcription, but I promise you it comes very close.  She certainly used "like" more densely (no pun intended) than any other speaker I've ever heard.

    I may have mentioned previously that the first time I became aware of "to be like," meaning "to think or say," was as late as 1984, though it has since been antedated by some few years.


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