I took a writing course during my last semester of college, and two students used the word ‘like’ as a filler word. We’re all guilty of this crime at some point–I definitely am and am very conscious of it. However, these two students couldn’t leave a sentence untainted. One day I decided to keep track. In a seventy-five minute class meeting of fourteen students, these two students uttered no fewer than 80 ‘likes’. I didn’t do much talking that day; I was too busy keeping track of their speech patterns and probably still missed some.
Surveytakers at the Marist Institute agree. Some words really are just annoying. Surprisingly, ‘like’ didn’t make the list, possibly because it has become so ingrained in our vocabulary that we don’t notice unless the word is impairing communication. Unfortunately, the word doesn’t impair communication much until the fifth or sixth use in a sentence. Someone should do a study on how much like is too much. This possible future study could also apply to uh, you know, and other filler words. Researchers with funding, are you listening?
Whatever. I’m just a blogger. What do I know?