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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11 Comments:

At 9:14 pm, Anonymous mom said...

like passions, like sins, like shortcomings (He didn't say, "like, passions. and like, sins, and like, shortcomings." You still gotta punctuate properly if you're gonna use it properly, right?"

heheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheh,

(are you wresting the scriptures??)

At least I got a response out of you. I do object to ("dis-like" shall we say, heh heh) FILLERS of all sorts. I don't want MY brain filled up with somebody's "fillers". And can't we find some REAL words to use, if we're tired of "said"?
say
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: make declaration
Synonyms: add, affirm, allege, announce, answer, assert, break silence, claim, come out with, communicate, conjecture, convey, declare, deliver, disclose, divulge, do, estimate, express, flap*, gab*, give voice, guess, imagine, imply, jaw, judge, lip*, maintain, make known, mention, opine, orate, perform, pronounce, put forth, put into words, rap*, read, recite, rehearse, relate, remark, render, repeat, reply, report, respond, reveal, rumor, speak, spiel*, state, suggest, tell, utter, verbalize, voice, yak*

Did you hear what happened to Caroline Kennedy? She was thinking of running for public office until she opened her mouth, and people (real people) counted how many times she used "like"--they counted, and she was dis-counted. heh heh. That was the end of her.

love you funny guy!

Mom

 
At 2:54 pm, Blogger Sam said...

haha, That example at the end was totally off. "Like" can be used in a variety of ways, one of which implies similarity.

The rule which you used in translating "like" in that phrase implies that he meant "as if", although, in this context "like" would translate to "similar"
I.E: full of faults and failingsā€š with, SIMILAR passions, SIMILAR sins, SIMILAR shortcomings.

When we say "looks like rain", we are not implying that it literally "looks similar to rain", but that it "looks as if rain is coming."
Further on this, using

 
At 2:56 pm, Blogger Sam said...

oops....I don't know what I was going to write after "Further on this, using..." but it's of no account now. hehehe

 
At 10:47 am, Blogger mClay said...

haha, joe, that was like'.. totally joe of you.

 
At 6:24 am, Blogger Neo said...

Nice one Joe. That was like, well written.

 
At 6:41 am, Anonymous Alice said...

Joe, my friend... irregardless isn't a word. Double negatives don't quite work in English.
THAT would be a grammar "faux pas"

 
At 7:48 am, Anonymous Administrator said...

thank u every1.

mom: she was discounted because america's a nation of old ppl. rest my case. can u imagine if we all went around saying "and then she conjectured..."

sam: don't be silly, of course i know that. they would edit out "like" in the gns--even if jesus actually said it.

alice: exactly my point. 'irregardless' is a grammar faux pas that many older ppl (same ones who criticize 'like') love 2 wrap their own tongues around without complaint. why is 'like' taboo, but irregardless 'a habit they just can't break, which doesn't really matter that much anyway'?

 
At 4:24 am, Anonymous hi said...

Joe... are you part of "Let the Dead"? Is it Fam?

 
At 6:03 am, Anonymous Administrator said...

yes it's family! no, i'm not part of it.
u can check their myspace page. the link is in the zip, 2gether with the song available in the "New Family Music" toolbar to ur right.

 
At 11:05 am, Anonymous hi said...

ya, i checked their MySpace... it's pretty cool that it's family! Thanks a lot for posting it!

 
At 3:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like know like that I like have like personally like been like responsible for like making like a joke like out of like the overuse of like the word like. I had no idea like that I was like being like politically like incorrect like that. So like I guess like I will not make fun like of those like that like use like so much like saying that like if they couldn't like say like they wouldn't like be able to say anything like, you know? Well, like looks like I like have already like said enough so I'm like gonna like like like like like stop like here... like.

 

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