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Like Is, Like, a Comma
This is like
when a character, like, constantly throws the word "like" into their sentences. Frequently used by like, teenage girl characters who are, like, um, a little dim
? And, like, end every sentence with, like, an upwards inflection? Usage doesn't seem to be limited to, like, specific character types, although it does seem to be used more by girls than, like, boys. Can get into, like, Totally Radical
territory if, like, this character trait is used, like, randomly out of place.
Right, that's enough of that...hopefully you can see how unclear and annoying that can make dialogue! This trope definitely needs to be used sparingly, unless you really want to make a character The Scrappy
The word "like" can be used in many ways;
- Adverbs, when it can mean 'nearly' or 'about' - "She's only, like, 5 miles away", or 'for example' - "You could catch, like, herpes".
- Quotatives, when you wish to quote another character - "she was like, 'Like is totally a quotative!'"
- 'Hedges', when you want to show you don't quite mean what you're saying literally, but as simile or hyperbole - "I, like, died".
- 'Fillers', if you don't wanna use, like, "um..." or "er...".
Another place like turns up is in Welsh
speech. Leet Lingo
frequently uses "liek" as a deliberate typo.
once pointed out that one of the reasons young people may talk like this could be to make sure the person they're talking to is paying attention to them.
This is, like, Truth in Television
, as many parents will gripe about this trope - although people will
use it in Totally Radical
ways that don't match any actual teenagers' speech. Also a prominent trait of the Valley Girl
It's also Older Than They Think
: the oldest quote cited for this sense in the Oxford English Dictionary comes from 1778
Screenwriter I. A. L. Diamond (who was born in 1920) and director Billy Wilder (born in 1906) had Marilyn Monroe
use the expression in the 'hedge' sense above in their 1959 period comedy, Some Like It Hot
Compare Verbal Tic
, contrast Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic
. Not to be confused with Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!
, though that trope's title is both an example of this one and a probable inspiration for its title.
No relation to Like Likes
. Or the Like button
Like, Anime & Manga
Like, Comic Books
- Poland from Axis Powers Hetalia is shown to do this in Fanon, due to the translation of his Nagoya Schoolgirl dialect into a Valley Girl accent. Coincidentally, this, like, totally fits with his canon personality.
- Hong Kong, especially in Hetalia Bloodbath 2010, has a tendency to do this as well.[Although not quite to the same extent as Poland.]
- This is how the legionary who's, like, disguised as a rattle-seller talks in the, y'know, English translation of Astérix and Son.
- In Issue #3 of the My Little Pony Micro Series, hippy pony Flax Seed always says "like" every other word. It's even lampshaded by Rarity and his annoyed wife, Wheat Grass.
- Toola from Pocket God says "like" almost anytime she speaks as part of her Valley Girl personality.
Like, Live-Action TV
- This is a common feature of Nadsat speak in A Clockwork Orange, though its usage isn't exactly the same as it would be in normal teen speech.
- Dave Barry has like a column where he like explains that teenagers talk like this to like check that they still have the full attention of like whoever they're like talking to.
- You mean, like a Carl Hiaasen crime novel where the annoyed body guard tries to work out this tic out of his assigned client with a cattle zapper?
Like, Newspaper Comics
Like, Video Games
- Chav characters are portrayed as doing this a lot. For instance, Vicky Pollard.
- The kids in My So-Called Life pretty much used "like" like, like, a Verbal Tic. Ironically, this is one of the things the show was lauded for, as it was probably the first instance of true-to-life "teen speak" in a television show. Until then, teenagers on television usually spoke exactly like adults, except with gratuitous Totally Radical lingo thrown in.
- Neil from The Young Ones talks like this.
- Sometimes popped up in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, mixed in with the Valley Girl and Buffy Speak stuff.
- Totally Kyle on The Amanda Show.
- This is, like, part of Maynard's whole beatnik trip on The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis.
- One gag on Modern Family has Haley and a friend of hers sitting in the back of the car while Claire is driving. Haley is sprinkling "likes" into her sentences like she's overusing a salt shaker and Claire gets annoyed enough to ask her to stop saying "Like". Cue Haley throwing a fit and screaming "YOU'RE EMBARRASSING MEEEEEE!"
Like, Web Original
- Ini Miney talks like this in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Though later it's revealed that she's doing it on purpose.
- Lovrina of Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness is a variation; she doesn't use like as a comma, but inserts "so" into her sentences often enough that it almost reaches Verbal Tic levels. Plus, she's not dim at all, being the head researcher of Cipher.
- Used by the kogal Yuka Ayase in the PSP version of Persona.
- Kurow in Ōkamiden sometimes does this.
- Due to the game's many verbal tics, Marcy of Chrono Cross has this for variation.
- Used extensively by the Sorority Orcs in Kingdom of Loathing, complete with use of question marks to complete all statements.
- In Leisure Suit Larry 2, Barbara Bimbo randomly inserts "like" and "you know" into her sentences at random, even in places where this would be unnatural for most speakers. This results in her accidentally naming Larry as the winner of the Dating Connection game, since her odd speaking patterns cause the host to misunderstand the word "too" as "two" (i.e., contestant #2).
Like, Western Animation
- Taylor Mali did a hilarious piece about this called Like Lily Like Wilson.
- Aquerna (Anna Parsons) of the Whateley Universe is fourteen, and narrates her own stories. They're, like, full of adventures and stuff.
- In the Freelance Astronauts Let's Play of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Ferr jokes that the Like-Like was named by a teenage girl from California.
- Lars Ulrich is depicted this way in Napster Bad; even his very first line is "Like, good afternoon!"
- Cecil, smooth-voiced community radio reporter and grown man, on Welcome to Night Vale sometimes peppers his speech with gratuitous use of the word "like" when he's rambling off-topic. Especially about his Love Interest.
Well, to the point: Carlos called, and I’m like, ‘Hellooo?’ Like I don’t even have caller ID, and he’s like ‘I need to talk to you. This is important.’ And I’m like, ‘Ummm, okay.’
- Trisha of The War Comms is infamous for this on top of her Valley Girl speak.
- On Super Beard Bros, Alex slips pretty heavily into this, in contrast to his appearances on (the rather more scripted) The Completionist and The Dex.
Like, Real Life
- Shaggy from Scooby-Doo does this a lot. In one episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Velma is trying to make him stop. Harlan Ellison drew attention to this trait.
- Kitty 'Shadowcat' Pryde from X-Men: Evolution talks like this. Occasionally it gets to the point where her teammates can barely even understand her.
- Cranked to the max in Codename: Kids Next Door when some of Numbuh 3's friends ask her whether she likes Numbuh 4, and she responds, "You mean, like... like like like, like?.. like?"
- For her first couple of appearances in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy Eris talked like this before she switched to a British accent.
- Sissy from Pepper Ann.
- The Ashleys from Recess
- Mark Chang from The Fairly OddParents
- Beavis and Butt-Head do this, like, constantly.
- Whittany and Brittany, the Biskit Twins, from Littlest Pet Shop (2012), are, like, huge offenders of this trope.
- Trina Riffin from Grojband.
- Shirley the Loon from Tiny Toon Adventures, like, regularly talks like this.
- Geordies, like. Amusingly, that's about all Southerners can often translate from Geordie.
- Most American teenagers, black or white, male or female. Like: It's Not Just For, Like, Dumbass Valley girls Anymore!
- But English teachers will still, like, freak out over it so like, try to like, censor yourself.
- This ESL teacher has seen it in textbooks as an example of slang - considering the many different meanings "like" can have, it makes sense to teach it even if it's linguistically undesirable.
- Like, you can have lots of fun by, like, listening to other students try to, like, give an oral report and, like, count the number of times they, like, say "like." Six, by the way.
- Many American adults (particularly those under 50) also do this, albeit not to that extreme.
- It's like, also like, really common with like, certain British subcultures like. For some, like, this sentence would, like, be an exaggeration, like. But, like, for others, like, it's like, totally not though, right, innit though.
- Y'know, like, Cork people, boy.
- Ow. Welcome to Wales, like, but.
- The exact German equivalent, BTW, would be "Digger" (not gold or grave, but "fatso", literarily). The word was also likened (no pun intended) to a youth comma.
- Caroline Kennedy's (Yes, those Kennedys) fledgling political career was killednote before it began when she gave a slightly incoherent 30-minute interview where she managed to use the phrase "you know" 168 times (a bit over once every 11 seconds). She was roundly mocked in the news and her words were published verbatim with all the pauses and the misspeaking intact (usually, interviews are "cleaned up" before publication), which made her look like an idiot.