Like, you know what I mean….

Dick and Jane Book coverDick and Jane original

“She is like, so lame,”  Jane said.

“I like that statement.  You and I think alike,” Dick replied

“Like two peas in a pod,” Jane responded.

Like has become one of the most versatile words in today’s vocabulary… Like, you know what I mean?


Like (preposition) – having the same characteristics or similar to  You’re just like your mother.

Like (conjunction) – informal manner of conveying in the same form or matter, as if  You treat me like I were you mother.

Like (noun)- used with reference to a person or thing of the same kind as another.  If we are putting like with like, let’s put our mothers in the guest room.  Hope they get along.

Like (adjective) – (of a person or thing) having similar qualities or characteristics to another person or thing.  Our mothers will respond in like manner–badly.

Like (adverb)  used in speech as a meaningless filler or to signify the speaker’s like man signuncertainty about an expression just used or used to convey a person’s reported attitude or feelings in the form of direct speech  Like who do our mothers think they are, acting as if nothing were good enough for them. 


Simile vs. Metaphor – A simile uses the words “like” or “as” to make a comparison–The mothers chattered constantly like a pair of twittering birds.  Metaphor uses a word from one context to unexpectedly  compare something in another context.– Although they had just met, the mothers-in-law bonded immediately, cementing a friendship that would last longer than their children’s marriage.

How do you use like?  Do you like the way so many people toss “like” into sentence whenever or wherever they like?  At first it seemed like younger people were doing this, but now it seems like almost anyone is tossing like into a sentence, as the spirit moves them.  Join in the conversation and share your views about like.  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you were to like this blog, too….

like thumb image


2 thoughts on “Like, you know what I mean….”

  1. Filler words can indeed be annoying, but they seem to be universal. Consider the German “ja” — as in “Ja, was ich dir sagen wollte” — or the common French or Canadian “eh?”. They often have no purpose other than to signal that the speaker has more to say but hasn’t gotten there yet. Leaving a moment of dull silence may invite interruptions, so we stuff an “er” or “um” into the breach. The word “like” has its own meaning — several, in fact — so it isn’t a neutral filler. It may suggest agreement, as if the speaker were saying “The same thing happened to me …” or it might signal that there’s an example or clarification to follow (“For example, I went into the store yesterday and … “). Without the benefit of research, I can’t offer more than speculation, but I wonder whether “like” isn’t more common among women than among men. It certainly seems so, in my limited experience. If so, it may be because women stereotypically are more interested in keeping a conversation going and men are more inclined to want the last word. Deborah Tannen probably was something to say about this. I should go look. Like, now.


  2. I think you comments are spot on. I never thought about why people use the phrase Like, I just found it annoying. I’ll have to pay more attention about whether men or women use it more–my recall is that women use it more often. Did you find out what Deborah Tannen had to say about it. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


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