Bruins, I spent time over the weekend with some dear friends. They are nice people. They are fairly well educated, to the extent that anyone who didn't go to UCLA can be well educated. The time started well enough, but quickly became a nightmare and then got worse. Two things happened. "Like" and "goes" happened.
"Like" and "goes" are perfectly good words when used appropriately. "I like chocolate cake" is a good sentence. "Goes" is more versatile, and still a good word: "The cat goes outside." "I hate it when the cat goes on the carpet." "That shirt goes well with those shoes."
My friends didn't use "like" or "goes" appropriately. The conversation was horrible. I hadn't fell that sick since the Anita Bryant concert. "So I'm like, OK, but she goes, well, no, so she's like, what, and I'm like....." It went on and on, and my nausea got worse.
This may be the way many people speak now, but it is still wrong. Improper language skills are as indicative of a mental state as is anti-social conduct. The inabilty to articulate a complete sentence using real words shows either an inadequate education or mental slovenliness or even the absence of the mental capacity to communicate. At least that was the way it seemed to me when I was the person who interviewed prospective employees at various times in my working life. And that's the way it seems to me now when I heard grown-ups talking like children. I wonder when these people will learn to speak.
I think the improper use of "like" and "goes" is the new profanity, and it's time to end this now, before the abiltiy to communicate totally dies. Precision is important in communication. The citation for Brizuela v. Cal Farm Insurance is not like 116 Cal.App.4th 578, it is in fact 116 Cal.App.4th 578. The verbs "to go" and "to say" are not synonyms.
Help me put an end to this. Stop being polite and tolerant. Don't let people get away with misusing the language, especially "like" or "goes." Tough love is required. Start with your children. Ask them what they mean when they misuse language. Make it an automatic response when they misuse words. Interrupt people when they talk by telling them that you don't understand what they just said. Treat "like" the same way you would treat an f-bomb when someone says it.
I doubt if this will work. Tolerance is just too great. If it makes a person feel good, then two and two is five or six or like whatever. I'm so happy about our football team. We're like undefeated. We're rated like number 1. Both statements are literally true. Both statements are also totally false.
NEXT WEEK'S TOPIC: "THE CARE AND USE OF THE APOSTROPHE."