"Like" abuse redivivus

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Apr 14 16:39:18 UTC 2008

On Apr 13, 2008, at 7:09 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> They both sound fine to me.

yes, there are many people with both quotatives.  the question wasn't
about acceptability, but a possible difference in meaning or use.

> I try to avoid using the "like" version,
> though, because of my degree of maturity. A senior citizen talking
> like someone dekkids younger always seems a little out of place,
> whereas my 95-y.o. mother will say, "X was all Y."

i very much doubt that your mother uses *quotative* "all", which has
been attested for less than 30 years and which (unlike quotative
"like") has been primarily used by young people.  what your mother
undoubtedly uses is *intensive* all ("X was all unhappy"), which has
been around since Old English, but has recently been extended to new
syntactic contexts (for instance, in "Yeah, I all screamed when we hit
the skunk").


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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