I mean - the new like

David K. Israel

Those who've been following this blog for a long time probably remember my old Weekend Word Wraps, and all the complaining I used to do about expressions like, like. And you might remember my suggestion for those who felt the need to insert like into every other sentence, to use it's not unlike, instead—in order to snap the habit.

So, the sentence She was, like, a raging lunatic that night, becomes She was not unlike a raging lunatic that night—much harder to say.

Now that like has mercifully waned in popularity, I have a new bone to pick: I mean.

It's everywhere!!! Have others noticed this, or is it just me?

You can't have a conversation with anyone any more without them peppering every couple sentences with an I mean.

"She was a raging lunatic that night. I mean, I didn't know what to do. I mean, she was so annoying."

Is that what you mean? Really? As annoying as you with your I means?

And it's moved beyond conversation, into e-mail now. Just look at this screen grab from an e-mail I found in my inbox yesterday.

email.png /

Out of hand, right?

What's going on here? Any ideas? Any annoying phrases or words that really get your goat these days?