DEAR ABBY: Recently I asked a friend whether he had noticed (especially on TV) how many people use the term "you know" as a filler for a thought in a sentence or instead of finishing a sentence. He said he had not noticed, and now he wishes I had not brought it to his attention because it is driving him buggy!
Seriously, I think it is a bad national habit and should be brought to the attention of the public, you know? And where better than through Dear Abby, you know? - A NEBRASKA FANDEAR FAN: You know (or did you?) that I dealt with this subject about four years ago. The evidence:
DEAR ABBY: A million thanks for pointing out the irritating speech habit that so many of our young people exhibit today. I refer to the use of "you know" three or four times in one sentence. It is simply maddening to hear "you know, you know, you know" from so many celebrities (especially athletes) while they're being interviewed on television and radio.
I started to fall into that habit when I was in college. One of my professors helped me to overcome it when every time I said "you know," he interrupted me with, "No, I DON'T know until you tell me."
Please print this, Abby. If everyone who is guilty of the "you know" habit would ask a friend to interrupt him with, "No, I DON'T know," what a blessing it would be. - NO MORE YOU-KNOWS
DEAR NO MORE: I could fill an entire column with complaints about sloppy speech habits - and I think I will! Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I dearly love the English language, but it appears that either our English teachers aren't teaching or their students aren't learning. I am appalled at the number of teenagers who use the verb "goes" instead of "says." Example in point: "Butch and I were discussing this problem, and Butch goes, `But you promised you'd do it.' Then I go, `Well, I changed my mind.' So Butch goes, `That's not fair; a promise is a promise.' Then my mom goes, `Will you kids stop fighting!' and I go, `We aren't fighting!' "
Abby, please point out that "goes" is a verb meaning forward motion in movement, not speech. We are producing a nation of imbecilic-sounding youths holding bachelor degrees. And they can't spell, either! - A. IN PHOENIX
DEAR ABBY: Basically, this letter is about people who basically overuse a particular word, or groups of words. Basically, the worst offenders are people who say "you know" four or five times in one sentence - basically speaking, you know.
You know how overworked those basic words can seem after, basically, a short period of time. You know, I find such repetitions basically nauseating, really.
Based on my aversion, you know, I'm considering taking drastic action to, basically, draw attention to this basic speech fault by taping the offenders' mouths shut, you know?
I'm basically a fan of yours, you know, so would you see if there are many others out there who, you know, have basically the same reaction? - GAIL H. SHOREWOOD, WISCONSIN
DEAR GAIL: You know, basically, I can understand your irritation because I DO know such sloppy speech habits are formed by people with, basically, limited vocabularies.