The overuse of ‘like’ stems from using it as a preposition instead of ‘as’ when comparing nouns and pronouns
If I had to nominate a candidate for the most misused word in the English language today, I’d vote for like.
Tell me you’ve never heard vacuous like abuse that goes something like this:
Okay, so I like went to the mall like yesterday and I like saw this dress in Macy’s window that I like fell in love with and I knew I had to like have it, so I went in and like tried it on and it was like wow, this is like so perfect and it was like on sale, so I like bought it and I plan to wear it like next Saturday.
Makes you want to like puke.
(Of course, the word like could be replaced by y’know, but this article is about y’know like.)
Webster’s New College Dictionary, for one, brands such usage as “nonstandard.” That’s the polite way of saying don’t do it. Thankfully, this particular aberration is encountered mostly in speech, and even the worst offenders refrain from peppering their writing with pointless likes—a most curious phenomenon for which I have no good explanation.