Have you noticed the word like making its irritating permanence in our vocabulary? It is almost completely synonymous with said. Everybody sounds like a valley girl when they talk. And this bugs the hell out of me.

Among other uses, like can be used informally to indicate dialogue as reported speech, which indicates uncertainty. For example: when Angela says, “Jordan Catalano was like, ‘whatever.’ ” In this sense, we don’t really know what Jordan actually said, but it may have been “whatever.” We don’t know for sure because it’s an indefinite quote. Even if the words are actually correct, using like compromises its authenticity.

In our culture’s ongoing war over the human mind, we are continually losing these seemingly insignificant battles. Information comes from everywhere and there is so much to filter out that we often don’t. We remember what we must and store the rest as vague memory. It’s a stretch to imply that a simple misuse of a single word is the source of all our society’s crises, so naturally I’m not implying this at all. I’m identifying a symptom of an overall problem: spreading the resemblance of information is not the same as spreading information. This minor subconscious gaffe is not a source; it is an indicator. One of many. And it seeps into our society only to soften our foundation of knowledge.