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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Uses of 'I feel like' - same as ever or recent mass diffusion of a marked form?|
|Question:||Hello -- I've recently begun to notice the use of a phrase that could be quite old, but strikes me as relatively new - at least in its penetration in the American English that I hear in person here in Washington, DC, as well as on television among people from many regions of the country (and I believe Canada, too). Though perhaps in error, I take the following uses of the phrase ''I feel like'' as standard: -- ''I feel like [verb]-ing'' (E.g., ''I feel like swimming.'' ''I feel like seeing a movie.'') -- ''I feel like a/n/the [noun]'' (E.g., ''I feel like an idiot.'' ''I feel like the guy in that movie.'') Uses of the following form, however, have become marked to my ear: * ''I feel like there are a number of 'elephants in the room''' http://linguistlist.org/ask-ling/message-details2.cfm? asklingid=200441365 * ''I feel like the auxiliary is affecting the choice, but I can't explain how it is doing this'' http://linguistlist.org/ask- ling/message-details2.cfm?asklingid=200461385 I don't exactly know how to label the latter form. A more accessible synonym for the lawyerly throat-clearing, or hedging, ''my sense is'' preceding a claim? Something else? And as mentioned earlier, it strikes me as a usage not heard to nearly the same degree even 5 years ago - but this could easily be availability bias. (Have also tried to audit my own speech, but unsurprisingly haven't caught myself uttering this, though for all I know I use it regularly.) Thoughts folks might have would be appreciated. JDP|
|Reply:||My online access to OED is temporarily not working, and my hard copy is a rather chilly walk away in my library at the bottom of the garden (Australia, evening). But 'like in the sense of "as if"' is certainly nothing new. It has been covered in discussions of usage for something like 100 years. It could be described as 'disputed usage'. Some people (on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as elsewhere) disapprove of using 'like' in sentences such as "He looks like he's drunk", and regard 'as if' as more 'correct'. For many more people, 'like' in this sense is colloquial or informal. Like many informal usages, though, it is becoming more and more acceptable in formal writing. Anthea|
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|