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)
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)