Words to Never Say, Part Two

This week we’re aiming our guns at the word like. (You knew this was coming.) If you care about precision in language, or just sounding more professional, read on.

If you use like as in enjoying something, or having affection toward someone, or using a direct comparison (“like a bat out of hell”), then keep it up. That’s the proper usage of the word.

But this last decade or so has seen the word explode as a kind of all-purpose verb/adjective:

“He was, like, (facial expression), and I like, (arms and hands indicating removal from the scene).” In Olde English, this might have meant, “He was upset and I quickly walked in the opposite direction.”


“That item is, like, over there in that aisle.” So is it actually over there in that aisle, or does it only seem as if it might be over there?

I know of more than one talented young person whose every 10th word is like. They need to stop, perform a like-ectomy on their vocabulary, and carry on making more sense. Research indicates that this will help in job interviews. Seriously.

Try using “it was as if…” if that will help, and if it applies. But you may find, as with kinda and sorta, that taking the expression out of your mouth completely will simply have the effect of strengthening your speech. Be brave. You can do it!


3 thoughts on “Words to Never Say, Part Two

  1. Aw, come ONNNNNNN!!!! I’ve used “kinda” “sorta” “like” in the same SENTENCE. I’ve made them into one WORD, even. (‘Kinda-sorta-like”) This is going to be painful.


  2. Mark – (love all this) Can you Pleeeeze attack the him and me went… me and her went … me and my mom went … … (I vant to scream!!! I can tolerate it in a youngster just not having been taught ANY grammar, but now it’s professionals! in broadcasting! etc., college students! ad pukesm! And a horse does not champ at the bit – and a galley tray is not a gallery tray. Just a few things driving me to drink. Luv, May


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