Like and Like again: Curtis Sittenfeld

As I have written in an earlier post, the use of the word ‘like’ as a form of filler in every other sentence is something that I find extremely irritating. This morning I listened to Curtis Sittenfeld, the author, reading a story by Tessa Hadley and discussing it afterwards with the new Yorker Fiction Editor, whose name eludes me. In that discussion, I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Here was Sittenfeld, a forty-two-year-old, highly educated woman, with numerous novels to her name, and her sentences were larded with ‘likes’ as if she was some sixteen year-old high school kid. And her interviewer, the Fiction Editor, also tended towards ‘likes,’ but to nowhere near the extent that Sittenfeld threw them into her sentences.

I do not understand it. Is it just a verbal tic — something that comes out when the brain is not quite there with what the speaker wants to say. Has it become an ingrained habit? Rarely does it add anything whatsoever to the ideas being expressed.

I remain, like, deeply puzzled.

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