By Judy Vorfeld
Like, have you wondered if there’s a technical term for, like, sticking the word “like” like, throughout a sentence, like, like this?
Here’s the gripping answer: it’s an interjectional word. Interjectional speech is often called “slang.”
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, says, under adverbs:*
b — used interjectionally in informal speech often to emphasize a word or phrase (as in “He was, like, gorgeous”) or for an apologetic, vague, or unassertive effect (as in “I need to, like, borrow some money”)
2 : an ejaculatory utterance usually lacking grammatical connection: as a : a word or phrase used in exclamation (as Heavens! Dear me!) b : a cry or inarticulate utterance (as Alas! ouch! phooey! ugh!) expressing an emotion
3 : something that is interjected or that interrupts
Professor Charles Darling says, “They sometimes stand by themselves, but they are often contained within larger structures.
- Wow! I won the lottery!
- Oh, I don’t know about that.
- I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.
- No, you shouldn’t have done that.
And now you, like, know. Think of it as a trendy verbal interruptor.
*By permission. From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary at www.m-w.com by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.