I Was Like, He Was Like

24 02 2009

Have you ever noticed how recently, most everyone has started taking to the phrase, “was like” to describe when a person was speaking, as opposed to just simply saying, “said”??? Here’s an example of a typical, everyday conversation:

Person A:  I was talking to him and he was like,“‘I can’t hear you, I have to go.” and so I told him, “ok,” and was like, “I’ll try to call you later.”

Person B:  That’s weird that he couldn’t get good signal on his phone. Was he like, “I’m losing reception, I can’t hear you” ? Or was he more like, “I can’t hear you, I can’t talk to you right now” ?

Now that’s just a sample conversation, but you can obviously tell (with the use of color) that “was like” has become the replacement for the word, “said.” I say it’s poor grammar on our part. And it isn’t even like saying, “was like” is a shorter and faster way to talk about talking, either. Saying “said” takes less breath and time in conversation and is more specific and to the point. -And it makes much more sense. Here is the above exchange, if the word, “said” (or say) is replaced everytime, “was like” was used:

Person A:  I was talking to him and he said,“‘I can’t hear you, I have to go.” and so I told him, “ok,” and said, “I’ll try to call you later.”

Person B:  That’s weird that he couldn’t get good signal on his phone. Did he say, “I’m losing reception, I can’t hear you” ? Or was he more saying, “I can’t hear you, I can’t talk to you right now” ?

I am going to venture a guess that this strange word substitution stemmed from the famous “Valley Girl” way of talking most commonly found in California in the 1990s. Another more common example of this “dialect” is the too-frequent use of the word, “like” as a gap-filler in sentences, where normally there aren’t even gaps to be filled. The word, “like” in such an overuse, is similar to stuttering or saying, “um” or “uh” while at a loss for words. 

While, the phrase, “was like” actually has a similar meaning to the term, “said,” “like” in the above mentioned Valley Girl-like speech, is not meant to represent anything more than a nervous habit of sorts.

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One response

25 02 2009
HeJo

But the word “like” means more of “almost” not an exactness as the word “said”. Maybe we all fear of getting something wrong? Maybe I am insane and that made no sense at all?

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