Like, Ya’ Know? Word Overload



What annoys you in conversation? A catchphrase or word that creeps into almost every sentence? It’s easy to edit those out in writing; however, in conversation, other than walking away, you’re stuck. For instance . . .

“Hi, like I was just thinking about you! Saw the most awesome thing this morning, like really early, like around daybreak. I was like so excited to be up that early, like that never happens! Anyway, like I was saying, I was like just driving from home and like this amazing herd, I guess it was a herd, I’ve never seen anything like it before, just came out of like nowhere, man! Really! It was like mind-blowing, dude! I was like I have to tell someone and here you are!”

Okay, hope you’re still reading – I feel that I must go wash my hands and sanitize my keyboard. Do you have any idea what the person was saying? Let’s try that once more . . .

“Hi, I was just thinking about you! I was up early this morning and saw something I’ve never seen before as I left home. A herd of (whatever animal it was – remember, that never was stated) was right in front of me. So glad I got to share that with you.”

Better? Although you still don’t really know what the person saw, you might still be paying enough attention and not mentally counting all the ‘likes’ in the first conversation to ask what type of animal they saw.

Granted, we all have our favorite sayings that we use without thinking. Some are just ‘place keeper’ type of words used while we quickly think of the word we intend to use. ‘Hmm’ is one that comes to mind – not really a word, but more an indicator that you’re thinking of what to say next. Sadly, ‘like’ seems to have taken on that characteristic and if you haven’t already surmised, it’s the word that drives me to distraction.

Interestingly, according to research, like is number two on the annoyance scale; whatever is number one.

What is your reaction when you hear whatever? Depending on the volume/tone, it can take on several meanings – dismissive, condescending, irritating; it’s mostly a conversation ender, especially if enunciated with each letter.

What are some others?

Words that describe a person – dude, man, bro. Put gnarly with it and you’ve got a description of sorts. According to the urban dictionary, gnarly is a negative description, not a good thing like cool.

Saying sorry (sort of) – my bad; sorry, not sorry; it is what it is; just sayin’.

Are you sorry or not? Nothing beats a simple ‘I’m sorry.’

Clarification – Ya’ know what I mean? Or the shorter version – Ya’ know?

By itself there’s nothing wrong with confirmation of understanding, it’s the repetitiveness of the phrase that’s the problem. Said often enough, someone may think you’re questioning their intellect.

To be honest – so, were you not truthful all the other times you were speaking?

With all due respect really doesn’t sound all that respectful. And, talk to the hand (stated or just with a hand raised) is clearly dismissive and meant an end to a conversation.

Amazing, awesome – Okay, something was fantastic. Could we please use another adjective and get out the ‘a’s’? I wouldn’t even mind a shazam thrown in there!

Some phrases are so fractured that, unless you’re in the know, you don’t know what the word means. We’ve all had to ask our kids what something means at one time or another.

I will be self-monitoring myself for a while after this research since all these phrases are like rolling around in my head. Just sayin’. Ya’ know? Okay, I’m done now.


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