LingAlert: "Sort of" Is the New "Like"

This one has been brewing for awhile. Maybe it's just in the agency world, but the agency world has given us "pushback" (did you give them any pushback?), "bandwidth" (I need a proposal written... what's your bandwidth today?") and many others.

"Sort of" is the new "like." It's basically "like" for adults. A teenager might say, "Why is everybody, like, so up in my grill today?" An adult says, "Can you give us an idea of sort of your approach to sort of tapping new strategic markets in sort of your core areas of expertise?"

I don't know where it came from, but I think it has the same basic function as "like." A researcher actually, like, studied teenagers who use "like" a lot and determined that it wasn't a function of laziness or lack of vocabulary; it's really about uncertainty and lack of confidence. I think "sort of" is the same way. It gives the person you're talking to a sense that you're trying to get to know their business, while also giving you license to throw out a lot of meaningless buzz words and hide your underlying lack of knowledge about the topic at hand.


Vegas Gopher said…
Didn't the smarmy boss in "The Office" (played to perfection by the future Vice President of the U.S. of A., Mr. Gary Cole) say "sort of" a lot? As in, "Yeah ... I'm going to need you to sort of come in Saturday morning, OK? Greaaaat."
Vegas Gopher said…
Of course, I mean "Office Space." Stupid early-onset Alzheimwhateverit'scalled.

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