Social Saturdays’ posts look at the social side of language. After all, language isn’t just a way to communicate, it is communication.

It was once said that language change cannot be studied in progress. That it was the job of the sociolinguists to come along after the fact and study what happened.

The be like quotative proved that statement wrong.

Be like is this new, annoying quotative which appeared in the English language a few decades ago, and has since become the most widely used quotative for certain demographics.

Instead of saying “I thought, ‘shut up!'”, people say “I was like, ‘shut up!'”. Instead of saying “She said to me, ‘you can’t do that'”, people say “And she’s like, ‘you can’t do that'”.

You’ve all heard it used. You’ve all probably been frustrated by its use – even if you’re a user of the form yourself.

Here’s what we know:

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