Copthorne Primary school in West Yorkshire, UK, has banned its pupils from using the word “like” as a filler. In future, those who pepper their sentences with “likes” will be asked to spend five minutes thinking about how they might have expressed themselves better.
The verbal tic is thought to be spreading thanks to shows like Love Island: in 2017, a contestant said “like” 36 times in 90 seconds.
Spreading? It’s already everywhere. It’s like (whoops!) “you know”, also a filler and I suppose it is popular because the user hasn’t thought through what he or she intended to say, and is trying to prevent interruption. Leaving aside the United States for a moment (students at Georgetown University can be heard using it every five seconds, walking down the street talking interminably on their phones), I fear that the good old British class divisions will ensure that “like” becomes a class identifier.
Well, it isn’t classy, is it?
(You thought people had stopped talking about class in Britain? Yes, they have, but it is still there)