Is it me?

By Anita Jaynes on April 04, 2016

John Davies is a senior corporate partner at leading commercial law firm Thrings. Each month he addresses a topical news or business-related issue. This time John discusses the annoying rise of the ‘Overliker’. Better? Worse? Your call.

So my previous musings about whether or not we should stay in Europe caused quite a kerfuffle. Some of the song titles you came up with were superb although the various suggestions did carbon date some readers – the 70s and 80s proved a very fertile era. Some of you, however, need to get out more.

This month I thought I’d write about something a little more personal which really gets my goat. I know I can occasionally come across as a cantankerous old man, but when did the word ‘like’ become so popular? It’s everywhere, as though people have caught some kind of nasty virus. People have become Overlikers. On behalf of the grumpy crowd – please stop!

There is no other word in the English language which makes even the most intelligent among us sound so daft. It’s everywhere and it’s ridiculous. At least it is to me.

Apparently language professors have argued that it’s used as a modern day sentence filler, in the way ‘um’ or ‘err’ is often used. They’ve also claimed it’s a way of demonstrating you’re part of a group.

Well, I’m no professor, but I am easily annoyed and to me that sounds like (used correctly) social anthropology gone mad. I read what those clever folk said and I was, like, no way. And I told my friend and he was, like, I know, right? And it was like we were, like, of one mind. And I said I’m going to, like, write about this because it’s, like, getting on my nerves.

If you’re an Overliker do me a favour. Read the last few sentences. Now read them again out loud. You see? It sounds ridiculous. Then again, I could be wrong – perhaps you think that I’m being ridiculous? If that’s the case then I’ll, like, get back in my box.

John Davies
e: jdavies@thrings.com
t: 01793 412634