So, Like, Can We Rein In The Use Of Some Words?


Some while ago I was having a discussion with someone about the ‘hidden’ elements of various company logos. For instance, the arrow in the FedEx logo. Like most people who live in an urban area the FedEx logo is something we see almost daily on passing trucks and drop-off bins. But for the life of me I could not recall an arrow in the logo.

But he warned me that from now on, I will never see the logo the same way. Once seen, it cannot be unseen

My interlocuter pulled up a photo of the logo on his smart phone and showed it to me. Nope. I still thought he was talking through his hat. He asked me if I wanted him to show me and I agreed. But he warned me that from now on, I will never see the logo the same way. Once seen, it cannot be unseen.

Deciding I could live with the change in perspective I asked him to please point out the arrow. He did. There it was plain as day, between the E and X. A perfect arrow that is now the first thing my mind recognizes in the logo.

In much the same way, my mind tends to get hijacked by certain words that become trendy and are massively overused. For several years that word was ‘like’. Those folks of a certain age salt their conversation with heavy doses of like.

On local radio there is a weekly foodie show on Saturday mornings. The host is a very pleasant woman who talks food, and conducts food related interviews, and of course shares recipes. As pleasant as she comes across on radio, she is also a prime example of one who abuses the word like.

“If you add in (not that one could add out), like some maple syrup, you will end up with, like, a sweeter cookie”

“But if you want, like, a chewy cookie” is one example. I don’t want like a chewy cookie, I want an actual chewy cookie. “If you add in (not that one could add out), like some maple syrup, you will end up with, like, a sweeter cookie”.

Enough already! When I listen to people who inject so many likes, it becomes the only word I hear. Much like the FedEx logo being reduced to an arrow in my mind, these folks’ statements become little more than a group of words surrounding the likes.

Lately I’ve been nothing short of astounded by the vast number of people who begin sentences, responses or statements, with the word “so” – a conjunction. So has at least a couple of meanings; it can refer to magnitude or size as in “It was so hot today”, and of course it connects phrases or sentences as in “It was so hot today. So, I wore shorts”.

Look, … so maybe I’m just being, like, cranky, and perhaps it’s just, like, the pandemic, but sometimes these things get under my skin. Yet, if this is all I have to gripe about, I guess I’m doing, like, okay!

But the current trend appears to be to start as many sentences as possible with so. “Will you be competing in the tournament?” – “So, I’ve been training for years”. What’s with the so? Or perhaps, “So, what’s with the so?”

So, as is the case with the FedEx arrow, and the misuse of the word like, I feel inundated with needless so’s used as the first word in a sentence.

Also, when an interviewer asks a question, it has become commonplace to start the reply with ‘look’ or ‘listen’. “Are you running for office next year?” “Look (or listen), I have a lot to consider…”. I’m not a moron, I understand that if I ask a question, part of the fun is to listen to the response. You don’t have to tell me to do so.

Look … so maybe I’m just being, like, cranky, and perhaps it’s just, like, the pandemic, but sometimes these things get under my skin. Yet, if this is all I have to gripe about, I guess I’m doing, like, okay!

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

2 thoughts on “So, Like, Can We Rein In The Use Of Some Words?

  1. Please campaign to get rid of the deliberate stupidity! Such language has so depleted our brains that we may never know how to speak intelligently again.

  2. Have you noticed that when someone runs out of things to say they will tail off their sentence with,”So….yeah….”.? This horrible trend is at least three years old now and may join “like” and “so” in the pantheon of single word irritants in the front of my brain very, very soon.

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