I am rapidly approaching the age where I will become an ‘old fart. Maybe I’m already well past that and careering towards ‘grumpy old man’. The last thing I want this weekly post to become is a moan but today I will allow myself a small grump.
If you have read more than one page of this blog you will know that I am a bit of a pedant and I am not really ashamed to admit it.
I have to get used to the changes in our language even though I may not embrace them. One of my bugbears is the noun ‘showcase’. Why has this become a verb? I hate the fact that everyone ‘showcases’ things these days – there are plenty of other words that can be used though I suppose it is better that people ‘showcase’ their legs rather than ‘expose’ them.
But my whinge for today is the word ‘like’. I am always very careful with this all-purpose word. Too often someone will write that you should ‘plant some bulbs like daffodils and crocus’ or add ‘something like chocolate chips’ to your muffins. What does this mean? What plants are ‘like’ daffodils and crocus? And in what way does the muffin addition have to be like chocolate chips? In appearance? Well no thank you since it might mean I have rabbit droppings in them.
The word ‘like’ here should be ‘such as’ which is why I always (I hope) use that.
But like has also assumed another meaning which I find really irritating. It has become a sort of lingual burp, uttered without thought between every breath. Listening to people talking around me it seems that every fourth word is ‘like’. Why is this? I assume it is just to fill gaps while the brain catches up with the mouth. Now I am not being mean here and I am sure that my speech is full of ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ as my elderly brain cranks up but ‘like’ has a meaning and that is being lost as it becomes a reflex action. I am confused as to why this should happen and I don’t like it!