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This is like when a character, like, constantly throws the word "like" into their sentences. Frequently used by like, teenage girl characters who are, like, um, a little dim? And, like, end every sentence with, like, an upwards inflection? Usage doesn't seem to be limited to, like, specific character types, although it does seem to be used more by girls than, like, boys. Can get into, like, Totally Radical territory if, like, this character trait is used, like, randomly out of place.
Right, that's enough of that...hopefully you can see how unclear and annoying that can make dialogue! This trope definitely needs to be used sparingly, unless you really want to make a character The Scrappy.
The word "like" can be used in many ways;
- Adverbs, when it means 'nearly' - "I, like, died".
- Quotatives, when you wish to quote another character - "she was like, 'Like is totally a quotative!'"
- It can also be a 'hedge'. This is when you want to show you don't quite mean what you're saying literally - which is of course how similes work. "She's only, like, 5 miles away".
- You can also use like as an interjection. If you don't wanna use "um...", for instance.
Dave Barry once pointed out that one of the reasons young people may talk like this could be to make sure the person they're talking to is paying attention to them.
This is Truth in Television, as many parents will gripe about this trope - although they'll use it in Totally Radical ways that don't match any actual teenagers' speech. Also a prominent trait of the Valley Girl.
It's also Older Than They Think: screenwriter I. A. L. Diamond (who was born in 1920) and director Billy Wilder (born in 1906) had Marilyn Monroe use the expression in the 'hedge' sense above in their 1959 period comedy, Some Like It Hot.
Compare Verbal Tic.
- Poland from Axis Powers Hetalia is shown to do this in Fanon, due to the fan-translations of his Nagoya Schoolgirl dialect into a Valley Girl accent. Coincidentally, this, like, totally fits with his canon personality.
- Hong Kong, esspecially in the Hetalia Bloodbath 2010, has a tendancy to do this as well.
Like, Comic Books
- This is how the legionary who's, like, disguised as a rattle-seller talks in the, y'know, English translation of Asterix and Son.
- This is a common feature of Nadsat speak in A Clockwork Orange, though its usage isn't exactly the same as it would be in normal teen speech.
- Dave Barry has like a column where he like explains that teenagers talk like this to like check that they still have the full attention of like whoever they're like talking to.
Like, Live-Action TV
- Chav characters are portrayed as doing this a lot. For instance, Vicky Pollard.
- The kids in My So-Called Life pretty much used "like" like, like, a Verbal Tic.
- Claire calls Haley out on this in one episode of Modern Family.
- Neil from The Young Ones talks like this.
Like, Newspaper Comics
- In For Better or For Worse, April does this.
Like, Video Games
- Ini talks like this in Ace Attorney.
- Though later it's revealed that she's doing it on purpose.
- Used by the kogal Yuka Ayase in the PSP version of Persona.
- Kurow in Okamiden sometimes does this.
Like, Web Original
- Taylor Mali did an hilarious piece about this called Like Lily Like Wilson.
- Aquerna (Anna Parsons) of the Whateley Universe is fourteen, and narrates her own stories. They're, like, full of adventures and stuff.
- In the Freelance Astronauts Let's Play of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Ferr jokes that the Like-Like was named by a teenage girl from California.
Like, Western Animation
- Shaggy from Scooby Doo does this a lot. In one episode of Scooby Doo Mystery Inc, Velma is trying to make him stop. Harlan Ellison drew attention to this trait.
- Kitty 'Shadowcat' Pryde from X-Men: Evolution talks like this.
- Occasionally it gets to the point where her teammates can barely even understand her.
- Cranked to the max in Codename: Kids Next Door when some of Numbuh 3's friends ask her whether she likes Numbuh 4, and she responds, "You mean, like... like like like, like?.. like?"
- For her first couple of appearances in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy Eris talked like this before she switched to a British accent.
- Sissy from Pepper Ann.
- The Ashleys from Recess
- Mark Chang from The Fairly Odd Parents
Like, Real Life
- Geordies, like. Amusingly, that's about all Southerners can often translate from Geordie.
- Most American teenagers, black or white, male or female. Like: It's Not Just For, Like, Dumbass Valley girls Anymore!
- But English teachers will still, like, freak out over it so like, try to like, censor yourself.
- Like, you can have lots of fun by, like, listening to other students try to, like, give an oral report and, like, count the number of times they, like, say "like." Six, by the way.
- It's like, also like, really common with like, certain British subcultures like. For some, like, this sentence would, like, be an exaggeration, like. But, like, for others, like, it's like, totally not though, right, innit though.