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Redundancy of ‘like’, ‘of’ and ‘so’

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

Why is it that so may young people insert the word ‘like’ into a sentence at almost every opportunity? It doesn’t seem to add any meaning and produces a rather disjointed rhythm in the language. Personally I find it painful to listen to someone with two or three ‘likes’ in every sentence.

In my view the root cause is insecurity in the speaker who does not have the confidence or competence in the language and/ or is too lazy to express it in any other way. One example of the construction when recounting events goes as follows: This happened and I was like “…………..” as opposed to This happened and I said “…………..”.

The addition of the preposition where it does not belong is a similar example of redundancy in language. The two most common examples are ‘outside of’ and ‘all of’. I prefer the fluency of “All the president’s men” or “outside London”. The only time I use outside of is when I’m talking about ‘the outside’ as a noun phrase; this is a very different matter to doubling up the preposition outside with another preposition. “Tomorrow I will paint the outside of the house.”

During the last 5-10 years, it has been increasingly common to hear people begin every sentence with the word ‘so’, especially when answering a question. This is a mystery to me as it does not add any meaning. This is another example of fashionable redundancy.

What I find disturbing about these redundant words is the speed with which the quality of language is being degraded.

Many foreigners come to London and end up with a poor grasp of English, much of it learned from other foreigners.

My remarks are not based on dislike of foreigners. Many native speakers are painfully careless with the language too.


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