Like Dislike

I am over in New York talking to my publishers about launching my book ‘Will There Be Donuts?’ here next year.  Everyone’s talking about Facebook’s new ‘want’ button.  I think it’s the Dislike button we should be concentrating on.

Cut to Central Park where I was having coffee this morning, or trying to.  But I was distracted from my Woody Allen reverie by a couple at the next table murdering the English language. Then exhuming its body and waterboarding it for good measure. You know the kind of thing:

“So I was like… doh… And he was totally like… na-Huh!… So I’m like ya-hAA. No way! So she’s like… it’s sooo toadally Way!”

I like kid you not. Expect headlines. Brit Writer Runs Amok in NYC Crazed by Misuse of Word LIKE.

It’s not restricted to the States. The viral misuse of  ‘like’ has insinuated itself the world over, yea, even unto the Pearl breakfast table.  My kids alternate between rolling their eyes as I list the times they use like in a single sentence. And squealing in delight and they catch me using it too!

OK, confession time.  Along with everybody else who saw BBC’s TwentyTwelve in the summer, I do like Siobhan, the ‘like’ – minded and – mouthed PR from Perfect Curve.  Actually, like is the wrong word. I love her. But she is a fictional character. Not a real one.   And in the real world “like” isn’t a substitute for “I/he/she said/felt/reacted…”  And I reach for the dictionary to prove it but – there it is – in like, black and white…

Like: Adverb  informal used to convey a person’s reported attitude or feelings in the form of direct speech (whether or not representing an actual quotation): so she comes into the room and she’s like “Where is everybody?”

And I’m like, “OMG!!  Who knew?”. So it’s official. The language climate has officially changed. And I am one of those polar bears clinging to an icefloe as English melts before our eyes. I guess I’ll have to go with it.  But I can’t say I like it.  Because I – like – DON’T!

If you agree, hit that Dislike button and let the world know!

4 thoughts on “Like Dislike

  1. In EFL terms we have ‘prescriptive’ and ‘descriptive’ language (I think that’s correct, there are, like, sooo many EFL terms) but it’s basically a distinction between what we’re supposed to say – ” I’m shocked at this news” and what we actually say “I was like – ‘Hello!'”.
    The thing is, language is organic. New stuff comes up, gets used, gets, misused, eventually becomes mainstream and then eventually archaic.
    And I must say, I kind of like that. Ennit.

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