One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1informal Used in speech as a meaningless filler or to signify the speaker's uncertainty about an expression just used.‘there was this funny smell—sort of dusty like’
- ‘And then she said I was right! I was like so amazed!’
- ‘Ben Kweller and his band certainly did that alright - they like totally rocked, man.’
- ‘In the next three one-dayers I didn't play and it was like really frustrating for me.’
- ‘I just - you know, I just kind of like mind my own business.’
- ‘He's been acting all weird like.’
2informal Used to convey a person's reported attitude or feelings in the form of direct speech (whether or not representing an actual quotation)‘so she comes into the room and she's like ‘Where is everybody?’’
- ‘I'm trying to work, and this guy is looking over my shoulder and after a while I notice and I'm like, ‘What are you doing?’’
- ‘She's got her Nativity play coming up, and she's like, ’Mummy, I'm going to sing on the stage like you.’’
- ‘So I decided to go swimming with Peter, and we did for a little bit. Then he's like, ‘Do you want to see my car?’’
3like as/toarchaic In the manner of.‘like as a ship with dreadful storm long tossed’
In the sentence he's behaving like he owns the place, like is a conjunction meaning ‘as if’, a usage regarded as incorrect in standard English. Although like has been used as a conjunction in this way since the 15th century by many respected writers, it is still frowned upon and considered unacceptable in formal English, where as if should be used instead
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