Like, let’s totally take this forward

“Do you think teenage girls will eventually just end up saying nothing but ‘like’?”, Beau randomly asks.

“Totally”, I reply.

“I was over-hearing some girls at the coffee shop”, Beau explains, “and all I could hear was ‘and you know, like, he said like ‘yeah, cool’, and like she was like totally into him, so then like she said…”

“It’s just like management speak”, I say, “The purpose of ‘like’ is a filler word used for when your brain stops working. Managers though are smarter, and are able use terms such as ‘going forward’, and ‘thinking outside the box'”.

“I bet there’s a website dedicated to the latest management speak”, Beau states, as he reaches for his laptop.

“We’re on a three way street here. So we really need to get our ducks in a row, and get back on the same page”.

“Ok, let’s take this discussion offline”, I say.

“No, no, you mean ‘Let’s touch base off line’, replies a fast learning beau.

“Ooh look, I’ve found a bull shit generator”, he says after a few more clicks.

“It’s a finely balanced situation weighted heavily towards the customer, so we need ensure we pick our low hanging fruit. Now’s the time to build robust technologies. We need to embrace the value-added mindshare, by not re-inventing the wheel. A blue-sky approach is what is required”.


He lost me.

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2 Responses to Like, let’s totally take this forward

  1. Ian says:

    That’s like totally true.

  2. The Lemon Book says:

    Cliches, hyperbole, redundancy.
    Not the latest law firm hired by the Council to exterminate me from the face of the earth, but the bane of my life nonetheless.
    Let’s start with the one that makes me want to apply the face of the speaker to a lemon squeezer.

    Defined by the Oxford dictionary, this means : “very impressive or very difficult and perhaps rather frightening”.
    None of that applies to a five-year old child who has just paddled across the baby pool for the first time, unless said five-year-old is still wearing a nappy, in which case it will be the only person in the vicinity who is not frightened.

    An adverb meant to emphasize the truth of a state, this has degenerated into a four-syllable non-cerebral substitute for anything from agreement (“Do you want this coffee?” “Absolutely!”) to excellence (“Your conference needs to be ABSOLUTELY ORGANISED!”) to a state of art beyond beatitude (“Absolutely Angling” – I didn’t make that up, there really is such a magazine. Does it follow then that one can absolutely angle? ).

    What? Has anyone ever under-exaggerated? Did we do that for a few centuries, then get it right and exaggerate a bit and now inflation has kicked in? Surely the very nature of the word EXAGGERATE (“to make sth seem larger, better, worse or more important than it really is”) implies hyperbole? How far do you have to over-exaggerate before the space-time continuum curves and you find yourself under-exaggerating?

    Possibly the worst aspect of being a conscientious objector to the hyperbole culture is that there is a generation of children out there that considers hyperbole the norm.

    “That was a very graceful dive, Maryke!”

    Maryke promptly bursts into tears, to my bewilderment.

    “Trudy said I was Awesome, but you just think I’m graceful!”


    “What’s graceful?”

    She’s right of course, Trudy does say, “Awesome, Maryke!” so often that the child could be forgiven for thinking that that’s her name. Including the exclamation mark.

    “Completely blown away!” See, this one is redundancy AND hyperbole. And very probably a cliche as well. It is seldom used to describe the state of a house after a hurricane, in which case it would at least be accurate, if redundant. More often the speaker is describing their reaction to an experience which generally does not involve high wind or explosive substances.

    “I was completely blown away by the service at that restaurant!” The message here is that the service at the restaurant was of such a high standard that it is worthy of mention. Excluding the possibility that the speaker was served by a flatulent waiter (in which case one would probably prefer to forget the experience, thus negating the sentiment in the statement that got me started) one assumes that the speaker began and finished his meal in roughly the same location, so why use sudden and violent movement to illustrate sitting in one place and eating food, no matter how good? It may, of course, be the case that the speaker is being literal (particularly if the restaurant in question is The House Of Curries), but then it would be the food that blew him away rather than the service. And let us face it, even if he were only partially blown away, it is unlikely that he would ever again be in a physical condition that would enable him to make any statements at all.

    A versatile word, and becoming more versatile by the day.
    “She’s like, who do you think you are? and I’m like, who died and made you Queen, and she’s like, going to get her sisters and they’re gonna like try it on…”
    In one sentence, “like” has been substituted for “said”, “thought”, “threatened”, “offered physical violence”, and not once used in its proper context. More lemon-squeezer time. Unbelievably, I heard one young woman say to another,
    “I’m, like, pregnant”.
    You cannot be LIKE pregnant. You either are or you aren’t, and trust me, you will know the difference!
    I have told my children that I will pay them $10 if they get through an entire day using the word “like” to mean only what it says in the dictionary (and this is only for the duration of those waking hours that I am actually there to hear them). I have not so far had to part with a cent.

    It’s all very well mounting a personal crusade to improve the quality of language, but it does involve long periods of teeth-grinding while total strangers on the end of the phone ball-park a figure, checkout ladies expect it will all come out in the wash, teachers find themselves at a loss for words and managers bat the idea around. And then comes the true nail-across-the-chalkboard moment. An email from a colleague thanking me for a prompt action that has saved him time, containing one single word.

    You guessed it.


    Where’s that lemon squeezer?

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