Monday, June 15, 2009

In Defense of Like

I would like to make a short apologia for the common usage of 'like' in today's English. Displeased critics often attempt to mimic the singsong banter of youth by placing 'like' in front of every word, and then rolling their heads in disgust. Critics, it is often you who are most responsible for the misuse of this word! We who use it know what we're using it for, and there's a definite set of rules that go along with if you want to pick it up. It's also just plain not funny anymore to put it after every single word as a way of mocking young people.

So listen and learn.

'Like,' in today's colorful usage form, was first made popular almost 40 years ago by a California freshman subculture widely known as 'valley.' 'Valleyspeak,' or 'Valspeak' as a sociolect came into being before some of you were born, and when the rest of you were still very young, so you really have no place rejecting it as a 'modern day' abuse.

'Like' is generally used:
To imply an exaggeration (it was like huuge)
As a filler (instead of 'um,' 'basically,' 'irregardless')
As a replacement for the word 'said,' a quotative (he was like, "hey")
To indicate something obvious (like hello)

Consider this:
Like was first used as a subordinating conjunction ('looks like rain', as opposed to 'looks as if rain were coming') in a 1954 cigarette ad, for which it received a similar outcry from critics.
In fact, "(t)he appropriateness of its usage as a conjunction is still disputed.... In some circles it is considered a faux pas to use like instead of as or as if, whereas in other circles as sounds stilted." (Wikipedia)

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Two Wrongs

Today we were out and we were in the car and I parked and turned it off and took the keys out and Clay was like, "Hey I forgot to roll up my window." So I was like, sure, and I put the keys back in and turned them and she rolled up her window. Then we all got out and I was like, "Everyone remember to lock their doors." So then we all slammed our doors shut and started walking to the restaurant.
Then about halfway there I was checking in my pockets and all of a sudden I was like, "OMG, where are the keys?" And I realized I had left them in the car. So we were all, "Oh no what are we going to do?" So we go back to the car and the keys are still in there, the lights are on and they're still in the ignition. I checked my door handle just to be sure but of course it was still locked so then I went around to check all the door handles and by a miracle of God Clay had left her door unlocked even though I had made sure to remind everybody to lock their doors. So I was like, "Phew," and I went in and rescued the keys and we went to the restaurant.