Between Eastcote and Ruislip Manor on the Metropolitan Line is a short journey, perhaps 2 minutes. This evening I sat next to two young people on this final leg of my journey home. During this brief interlude the young man, who discoursed pretty much all of the time, uttered the word "like" no less than eleven times throughout his conversation. At no time did the word add any content to what he was saying. Perhaps he was unconscious of using it, perhaps he uses it deliberately to avoid saying "err", or "you know". Or maybe he lives in a world full of simile, a world where every person and experience must always be compared to something else through the ubiquitous "like".
You may wonder why I bothered to count the offending syllable. [You're right: Ed]. Well, I had just failed to complete the game of Battleships in a copy of the Evening Standard some kind fellow commuter had left by my seat and I had a bet with myself that he would reach 10 "likes" before I left the train. I lost.