Literal-Minded

Linguistic commentary from a guy who takes things too literally

Ooh, Baby, You Know What I’m Like

Posted by Neal on April 5, 2004

Doug, age 5, routinely says things like this (and has been doing so for a couple of years):

He was like, “Why’d you do that?” That’s what he was like, Daddy.

Now I am a fluent user of the like of reported speech or thought, and will often utter sentences like the first one in (1). But the second one? No way. At least, not with this meaning of like. For me, what he was like can only mean “what he was similar to” or “what kind of person he was.”
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One Response to “Ooh, Baby, You Know What I’m Like”

  1. […] his acquisition of English and how it differs from what I speak, like when I heard him say, “That’s what he was like” to mean, “That’s what he was thinking”, or when he shared the reasoning he went through that led him to prefer on accident to by accident, […]

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