How to Stop Saying the Word “Like”

Every language has its own vocabulary of vocalized pauses, which are meaningless words used to keep the conversation flowing smoothly.[1] In English, these are usually “um,” “er,” “ah,” or “you know.” In North America, especially among young people, it’s common to use the word “like” as a vocalized pause. This became popular with the rise of “Valleyspeak,” which is a stereotypical manner of speaking that originated in Southern California in the ’70s.[2] If you’re, like, totally hooked on using the word “like,” see Step 1 below to start speaking more professionally and stop being (like, so) annoying.


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