“Like” — Wow

Ben Yagoda
9 min readFeb 16, 2024
Maynard G. Krebs — “Like wow, Dobe.”

Over at the New York Times, opinion columnist John McWhorter, a professor of linguistics, has weighed in on the current (over?)use of the word “like.” His main point is that it serves more of a social than semantic purpose — he says the word “quietly implies that what’s coming up is like itself rather than just itself, which lowers the temperature, keeps the burner on medium rather than high.” (emphasis added)

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Ben Yagoda

Author, "The B Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song. " www.benyagoda.com. Linktree https://linktr.ee/benyagoda