Saturday, February 25, 2012

Like and as -- should we just give up?

"Trae Golden scored eight points to keep Tennessee in the game late in the first half of Saturday's loss at Alabama, but the Volunteers' sophomore point guard turned the ball over six times and admitted after the game he didn't control the game like he should."

The sentence above was written by a former sports writing student of mine.  He was an excellent, attentive student, is a great guy and is doing very well in a very competitive field.
      We see this use of the word "like" in newspapers everywhere, including The New York Times.   I assume the Times' style sheet -- like that of our local Knoxville News Sentinel and our local grammar guru, Don Ferguson -- says that this is common usage and therefore fine.
     The only thing is, every time I read it, it makes me stop and say, "This just doesn't look or sound right to me."  I notice that two writers roughly my age (55) at our local paper write "the way" or " as" or "that" in the various places we use "like" in conversation and casual writing.
     My question is this: might there ever come a time when this holds a young writer/reporter back?  Might some crusty Baby Boomer editor looking through clips come upon this lead and move on to the next person? 
     I don't know the answer to this, or to the larger question of whether I am the last mastodon; i.e.,  whether anyone else on earth notices the like or as moments or cares about them.
    
(For previous posts on this topic on this blog, including the Harbrace rule, search "Like and as.")

1 comment:

cjk said...

I am in the almost-55 crowd and an editor. I spend considerable time replacing "like" with "such as" in the manuscripts of my younger colleagues. They've never asked why I do that, but I doubt they know the answer. I think we're headed to mastodonland.