Today, I literally heard people say the word “like” too often and in response I figuratively yelled, “Stop it” because I disliked it so much.
Like is magical word that can be a preposition, conjunction, noun, adjective or adverb. It is not, however, just a fill in word to be thrown in anywhere in a sentence for no apparent reason.
I would also like to add that using the word “literally” over and over does not add emphasis or help me better understand the points that people are trying to make. In fact, it tends to make my focus wander as I wonder why they felt the need to say “literally” in the first place.
Say, for example, I might ask someone, “Hello there individual so and so. How was your day today?”
The response often sounds like this:
Ok, that was a bad example, but one I often hear from teenagers. Other times, the response sounds as follows.
“My day was literally like the worst day ever. I like went to like class and I thought I would like the subject the teacher was going to like talk about, but my phone literally blew up with people like liking (something on the internet/their phones that I don’t understand), so I literally died and could not like concentrate!”
This usually leads me to figuratively say things like:
“I think I unlike understand but how did you dislike decide what to do?”
“I am not likely to like, like like like that.”
But while some answers are extremely wordy thanks the inclusion of many unnecessary words (and yes, I realize that I am also often far too wordy, but for different reasons) other answers are often far too short. The short answer I regularly hear is “it’s fine” or some variation of that.
For example, I could ask a teenager at my house (and this has been the case for many, many years), something like “I’m sorry that your arm fell off. I am going to take you to the hospital.”
“Should be fine,” would be the response.
“So does that mean we are going to the hospital or not?”
“But what about the fact that your feet are on fire and your hair is bleeding?”
“I’m fine! When are we eating?”
Teenagers are not alone in these types of responses, though, as the “fine” answer often reminds me of a public relations friend I used to work with when I was employed full time as a reporter.
In a smart move by him, he would answer every question with, “Good question, good question. I will look into that and get you the answers you need.”
He is a great guy and I enjoyed hearing about how awesome my questions were and how smart I am, but after about the 37th time this happened, I began to catch on.
I finally learned that I could ask him things like, “Hey individual so and so, how would you respond to allegations that your company is secretly run by robots who want to take over the world?” and he would offer the following type of response.
“Good question, good question. Thanks Nick! That’s super. I am so happy you brought that up! I am certainly not a doctor and am not licensed to state unequivocally if my supervisors are human, but I can say tell you for sure that their number one mission and passion in life is selling carpet at low, low prices.”
“But how do you respond to the fact that the room is filling with water and we all may drown soon?”
“That’s a great question Nick! Great question. Wow. I don’t know how you reporters get to be so smart. As you know, though, I am not a trained hydrologist, so I am not an expert on water, and I am not a math expert like the amazing accountants we have here at the company. I am telling you, those guys and gals are so smart they could lead a horse to water and make it drink while teaching their old dogs new tricks, but the only numbers I know are 9 to 5, what a way to make a living, you know what mean? So at this time I cannot give you the answer you are looking for regarding the time it will take for this room to fill with water at the current speed that the water is pouring in here. I will have to get back to you on that. I do, however, know that the amazing products we are selling at this company are waterproof and blub, blub blub.”
So what’s the point of all of this? I guess it’s mainly that I am literally and figuratively tired and I would appreciate it if people would say something unlike like more often. Of course, the chances of that actually happening are about as likely as me finding any ice cream left in the house.