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IT'S LIKE...YOU KNOW

6 January 2001

I came across this in a journal recently:

George was like "Does anyone want to ride with them?" and I was like, "Sure."

OK. I come from a background where we used to diagram sentences, (and where we were hooked on phonics whether we wanted to be or not and didn't have to pay $200 for a "game" to teach us phonics).

Now how do you diagram a sentence like "he was like does anyone want to ride with them?"

I can't even begin to break it down into logical parts of speech.

Even the simple "I was like sure."

OK--"I" is the subject. That's pretty easy.

"was" is the verb. Also easy.

But "like sure"???

Is "sure" the object? and does "like" modify it? Or do you treat "like sure" as one word?

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At the risk of sounding like a really old fogie, whatever happened to English? Not only has "like" taken on this weird part of speech, but what about "goes". I go...and then she goes...and then we all go.... when "go" really means "say" or "said" or "says." You're not actually moving from one place to another, so go isn't really applicable. But "go" has become so acceptable speech that I don't even flinch (much) any more when I hear it.

And then there's "all." "All" seems to require an action. "Then he's all......" with demonstrable action, "and so I'm all...." again with an action. Or not. It might be "Then he's all like that" and "I'm all scared and stuff." But mostly I see "all" preceding some sort of mime'd action.

Maybe I just need to get with it. I need to grow with the times.

OK.

When he goes "I was like, "Sure." I get like "that's English?" It bothers me so much I'm all [shudder].

Nah...I don't think I can do it. It's like the new style of baggy clothes, where you're not "in" unless your pants are dragging on the ground and your butt crack shows (I can't believe I actually saw someone showing a fashion line of decorations for the butt crack! I'll have to tell Sam, the Plumber, that he can be more trendy if he just learns to accessorize).

I guess I'm stuck with personally using normal diagrammable English. But I can hardly wait until the current crop of grammar-bending adolescents is old enough to be running the country. I can hardly wait to hear somebody's innaugural address. I'll be all like [shudder].


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