While it is no surprise that everyone has their particular speech inflections, once speech inflection in particular in standard American usage has risen its status from benign to insidious. While I took the injection of the word “like” into everyday conversations as something beyond a nervous tic that sullied said conversations [here], the prevalent use of “you know” currently makes a mockery of conversation more than “like” ever did. If you believe you are not guilty of this infraction – as I once did – I challenge you to The Great, You Know, Challenge; the idea being that if we recognize just how guilty we are of this linguistic crime (myself once included), we can perhaps – you know – resist the urge to inject it and speak like normal human beings without fragmenting our (run-on) sentences.
The Challenge is played like this: When you find yourself in conversation with another person, count how many times they use “you know” and speak the cumulative number aloud each time they do it until they ask you what you’re doing. Then you can explain. How high will someone let you go? The challenge is, of course, to reach a high number (greater than ten, for arbitrary reasons). I’m very curious for the results.
Sadly, there are no prizes for winning or participating in the challenge…unless you consider being a nuisance gratifying. I do, which will comes as a surprise to no one. One! Ah-ah-ah-ah! Two! Ah-ah-ah-ah! Have fun J