If you, like, say "like" too much, it can, like, weaken the impact of what you're trying to say.
The slang interjection is a "filler" word we're all guilty of using, but it's how often you say it that makes the real difference.
See also: How to debate the big issues on social media
We spoke to experts to gather a set of useful, tried and tested tips to eliminate such filler words from your vocabulary.
Do you like "like"? Does it drive you crazy? Have your say in the comments.
It's, like, mallspeak
Modern "like" usage stems from what's known as "Valleyspeak," an American sociolect that began in the 1970s in California's San Fernando Valley.
Frank Zappa parodied it with his daughter Moon Unit in the 1982 song Valley Girl, incidentally Zappa's only American top 40 hit.
Valleyspeak spread across the States, morphing into what's now called "Mallspeak," described as a "garbled version of English in which 'goes' takes the place of 'says' and 'you know,' 'I mean' and especially 'like' occupy every conversational pause."
Now colleges and universities offer special speech classes to "unteach" Mallspeak. Patricia Skarda, an English professor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and founder of its "Speaking Across the Curriculum" initiative told the Seattle Times use of such slang vocab can affect people's prospects and "indicates a lazy mind."
Whether or not you agree, here's our look at how to stop saying "like" so often.
Identify your "like" usage
First, be mindful how you overuse "like."
Do you use it when describing quantities? For example, would you say, "There were, like, 20 people in the elevator." Simply switch out that "like" for other words, such as "about," "around" or "approximately."
Do you overuse the word quotatively? Example: "Sally came in the elevator and she was, like, 'It's so full.'" Again, this is just a matter of switching that "like" for a better word, such as "said."
"Like" is also often used as pure filler. "The elevator was, like, so full." Here, you don't need to use the word at all. Here's how:
Make a conscious effort to speak more slowly.
"The trick is to slow down and shorten your sentences," says public speaking expert Simon Bucknall. "With shorter, simpler sentences you have less need to 'fill' with pointless words. More importantly, you can speak more purposefully and definitively, without the needless qualifiers."
Pause when you feel a "like" coming on
If you know you're about to say the L-word, pause. This gives you the chance to think of a better word or reform your sentence so you don't use "like" at all.
Don't be afraid to gesticulate
Sometimes we fall back on linguistic crutches such as "like" when we're afraid we're not getting our point across. Don't be afraid to gesticulate. Flappy hands could be seen as an improvement on "like" overuse.
"An unconscious behavior has to be brought up to the conscious level by having a speech coach identify and immediately 'mark' it — using a clicker for example — so the person can develop awareness," states vocal development and communication training expert Carol Fleming, author of It’s the Way You Say It.
"This 'conditioning' is done during spontaneous speaking. If done accurately, the person will soon become aware and can choose to not use the word. It is unsettling at first, but it can be highly effective after several follow-up sessions."
If you can't afford sessions with a professional, ask your friends and family to pull you up every time you use the word "like." After several days of interruptions from those around you, you should start to alter your speech pattern.
Or, I mean, you could always, like, accept yourself for you you are and, like, embrace how you talk.
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