Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Like Abusers: It's Time to End the Like

I can trace the improper use of the word "like" back to Shaggy on Scooby Doo or perhaps Sarah Jessica Parker in Square Pegs. Regardless of the source of the word, its misuse today as a language filler is incorrect, annoying, and even foolish.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, then listen to yourself talk. You, like, might be part of the problem.

This language phenomenon is most prevalent in people under 35 proven solely by my own observations. Given that I am 36, I think I missed it by 12 months. It crosses professions, gender, and age. I hear 30 somethings "liking" and I hear eleven year olds "liking." I have even seen writers quote people in the following manner: "That was like such a good game, you know, it like was like nothing I've ever seen before." Reality TV is filled with "like" abusers. "We like totally love our new house. It's like the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Thanks like ABC."

I interviewed close to 15 candidates for a receptionist/office admin position about six months ago. Only three of them didn't use the word "like" excessively and improperly. I hired one. One of the candidates used the word like at least twice in every sentence, dragging the long i sound out: "Liiiiiiiiike, I really would like you know like a position like this because it would liiiiiiiiike be a Monday to Friday job rather than liiiiiike having to work at night." I suggested she keep her bar tending job.

I had two nannies, at two different times, taking care of my boys in our home. I had to have separate conversations with each of them to curtail use of the word "like." Both my husband and I went crazy hearing our 5 year old son saying "like" three to four times in each sentence. We are still deprogramming him. Good thing our 2 year old wasn't talking enough to pick up on that habit.

What is most impenetrable about this issue is that "like" abusers don't even realize they are doing it. It's not akin to a drug addiction where you have to go out and retrieve a substance. There are no support groups. People are not telling "like" abusers to stop. This bad habit just pours out of people's mouths, punching my inner peace with each sounding of the word "like."

If I had the magic wand for mankind, I would wave it high and fast and wish for the like-fest to end. Until then, I will publish this post and hope it gains traction among those "like" minded.
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