I'll admit it: for a period during my late 20s, I used to use the word like as filler - pretty much the way teenagers were at the time, and still do. It wasn't conscious, and I certainly didn't use it in every sentence, nor did I emphasize it in a Valley-girl kinda way (e.g. "And he was, like, no way!") But it served the purpose of filling in sentence gaps much the same way the French will throw in an ehhh or a maybe, when they're thinking about the next word they want to use. (e.g. "Ehhh, maybe, ehh, ihhh, you want we go to dinner, now, ehh, maybe, ehh"¦")
A colleague of mine came into my office the other day complaining that someone accused her of inserting "y'know" in every other sentence. (e.g. "So, the best way to, y'know, slice a bagel, is to, of course, use a knife.")
I told her about my like addiction a decade ago and informed her that I was eventually able to stop using the word altogether by consciously using the phrase: "it's not unlike," which, of course, means the exact same thing. It slowed me down so much, that, eventually, I had to do away with the filler word because, let's face it, who really wants to have a conversation with someone who speaks like this: "So I was not unlike, get out of town, dude. And he was not unlike, excuse me?"
Of course, people still use like and y'know as fillers pretty much willy-nilly. The question I ask you, the loyal Word Wrap readers is this: what's your favorite, or, perhaps LEAST favorite filler word of all time? And, maybe even better, how about we nominate some new words to replace the old hackneyed standbys?