Interesting piece regarding overuse of the fluffy phrase “you know” in a recent letter to the Bulletin.

Seems “you know” is simply a filler when people are gathering their thoughts. Worse yet is “um” or “ah” — often strung out for several seconds. Better to just fall silent and then press on when the right words come. Other unnecessary words are “very” and “really.” Cut the inane adjectives and adverbs. Clean, succinct prose is best.

Irritating to me is the improper use of the word “like.” It is often used in almost every sentence by teenage girls. A young woman in one of my college psychology classes once used “like” 26 times in her five-minute oral presentation (at conclusion a fellow student announced this to the class). This led me to use Pavlovian conditioning. I brought a bell to class and rang it whenever the word was uttered. As well, I reduced future oral reports by one grade after the fifth “like.” It worked. Like, totally.

The final word that has become nauseatingly overused, especially with young people is “amazing.” They evidently live in a constant state of amazement. If everything is amazing, then nothing is amazing.

Rick Burns