How does a non-native English speaker figure out the proper usage and placement of “like”? Is the “like tic” nothing more than a meaningless flaw?
“Had the non-native inquirer delved further, he would have found “like” analyzed as communicating something about the speaker’s relationship to his or her statement; as a “hedge”; as more common (surprisingly!) among males than among females; as an aspect of “sluicing” or elided speech; as a presentation of dramatized dialogue; as a useful point of departure for the study of the interactions of components of grammar. Altogether, a fascinating word.”