Imagine, if you will, receiving the following message:
wasn’t that, like, so so so clever how i, um, ya know, changed you’re, like, name like that?!?!? anyways, i, was, ah, ya know, just wonderin’ if you’d, like, wanna hook up this, um, weekend and, like, shoot some stick at bobs burgers?! everyone’ll be there, eh.
k, talk soon
If you have not self-immolated or torn out all your hair after reading that doozie, then congratulations. I am currently smoldering, my scarlet gown and long wig reduced to ashes.
As Willy S. would have written if he were alive today:
Shall I compare that missive to an 18-car trainwreck?
Thou art more lovelier and more temperature:
Rough winds do shake ‘n bake the buds of grammar, punctuation & filler words,
And language’s lease hath all too short a hot date.
Ah, yes, filler words. What would the world come to if we wrote the same way many of us speak English? At the top of my Seek & Destroy List are filler words in spoken English, notably the use of “like.”
Filler words, otherwise known as pause fillers or the hesitation form, are essentially meaningless words, phrases, or sounds that fill in a gap in speech. I suppose my question is this: Do native English speakers (i.e. those most guilty of committing said verbal infractions) not realize how dumbass they look when constantly using the word “like” as a filler word?
Surely you can’t be serious, the reader says. I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.
I, like many before me, have spent a considerable amount of time trying to clean up my writing, but how many of us are conscious about the way we speak? They say first impressions leave the most lasting impression. And while it’s true that how you look and present yourself are critical in making a great first impression, how you speak is also important. (I was going to write very important or quite important, but then remembered the challenge I threw out yesterday about eliminating mocking adverbs for the next seven days.)
So, the next time you catch yourself using one of the most common filler words (like, um, ah, you know, okay, er, right), reach for a bar of soap and give your mouth a good ol’ cleaning. The person with whom you’re speaking to will be eternally grateful.