Opinion

Oh my God, we all, like, sound sooo ridiculous

I was trying to write this column and, like, didn’t know what to write about and, like, thought about how stupid we sound today by excessively misusing the word “like.”

I remember as a kid watching movies where the female characters had what I like to call “Valley Girl Syndrome,” where every third word was “like,” and I thought it was stupid then. Almost two decades later it has taken the place of the word “umm” as the new popular interjection, and I still think it is stupid. If you didn’t know, an interjection is simply a short exclamation but is not really connected to the sentence in any way. It is prominent more in speech than in writing.

I am not a grammarian but it isn’t hard to hear how annoying this sounds whenever someone raises their hand in class and “like” is coming out of their mouth at a rapid clip. It is as if the person has no confidence in what he or she is saying. I am not out to chastise anyone because I know I do the exact same thing on occasion. It was brought to my attention by someone older that stopped me in mid-sentence and asked if I realized how many times I used the word “like” incorrectly. I just wanted to point out the obvious to everyone.

It doesn’t help our generation when pop on MTV uses it, and we think they sound horrible but we don’t recognize it as it pertains to ourselves. Damn that mass media! I have actually started a game where I count how many times a person will say it while they speak and sometimes tune them out because it gets annoying once I reach 15.

I just want us all to realize that we sound ridiculous. Remember that we want jobs after we graduate from here and I don’t think the inability to convey a coherent thought to someone without using the word “like” will go over well with future employers. Good luck in your attempts to curb this and, like, don’t, like, stress over it because if you think about it you can easily stop using it. Remember when we used the word “uhh” at one time?

Vontilla Steven can be contacted at v.steven@umiami.edu.

November 12, 2004

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