Like, What?

The English language has been murdered, raped and mutilated in various ways through the ages. But the way the word “like” has come to be used today, is something that irks me the most. Seriously, I would rather have someone ask me if I want to “make frandsip” with them, rather than hear the word “like” in a sentence which could have done well enough without it.

It is commonly used as a filler, to fill up spaces between words, so that the flow of one’s speech is not broken. It is also used as a substitute for “said”, that is to say, a person’s dialogue becomes
his/her state. Sample this – ‘You know, I had to, like, go to this party, okay, and I was like, wearing this short black dress, which by the way is like the sexiest thing in my wardrobe. So, anyway, this girl like came up to me and everything and she was like, “Nice dress, where didja get it from, coz I saw something similar in Sarojini yesterday” and I was like, duuuuuuuude, this thing is like, Marks and Spencer, you couldn’t possibly have seen it like in Sarojini or something. Can you like, believe that??’
The next time you hear it, please notice the change in intonation with the appearance of the word “like”. The word succeeding “like” often rises in intonation, and lingers on with a distinct drawl. In case the word is too short or abrupt in its rhythm, adding an “and everything” after it, helps maintain metrical uniformity in your speech. In some cases “or something” and “or anything” are also acceptable. Aishwarya Rai in Dhoom 2 tried to portray a character who uses the word “like” as yours truly is trying to describe. I don’t blame her; it is the scriptwriter’s fault, really, who placed all the “likes” arbitrarily, wherever he pleased. It was almost as if he sprinkled the “likes” over Ash’s dialogues once he was done with the script, and most of them fell on all the wrong places breaking all the rules of “like” grammar (for example, never ever end a sentence with ‘like’. It is strictly to be used in the middle of a sentence). Nonetheless, going by the number of females who hate Aishwarya from the very bottom of their hearts, I earnestly hoped after watching the movie, that at least the women, if not the guys, will quit using the “likes” suddenly made oh-so-passe by Aishwarya. But alas! It did not turn out like that. I think most of us were too busy getting distracted by something else.

My only fear is that this “like” thing, is like, really contagious. Its like, it just latches on to you, and then you can’t, like, get rid of it. I’m trying really hard to like, not start doing that myself. If you think you can like, fight this blatant misuse of the…whatever, and you want to protest or something like that, then you can like, give me call, and we will form like a whole committee and everything, and then like, spread the message.

Kim Arora

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