The Plague This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Walking down the hallways of American high schools, oneword is heard more frequently than any other in the English language: like.Americans today - especially teenagers and young adults - misuse "like"so often that it dominates their speech and devalues any point they try to make.

This decline in communication skills is a plague spreading throughout oursociety. I was once a victim, so I am aware of its contagiousness and howdifficult it is to cure oneself. We must gather together and attack this diseasebefore it completely erodes American society.

It is extremely difficultfor teenagers to escape the plague. Daily, we are exposed to hundreds of misusesof the English language that are quickly becoming more acceptable. The misuse of"like" can be found in formal and informal conversation, magazines andnational TV.

I fell victim between the ages of 14 and 16. I barely noticedit in the beginning. Slowly, though, as my friends and classmates began to usethe word "like" more frequently, I saw the negative repercussions. Aperson who has poor speaking and communication skills will seem less intelligent,even if he or she is actually intellectual.

I have my older brother tothank for my recovery. I often used "like" as an approximation, suchas, "He was, like, five feet tall." My brother would sarcasticallycounter with, "Was he 'like five feet tall,' or was he five feet tall?"His constant tormenting finally caused me to change my speech.

The declinein speaking and communication skills of teens is important to me, and it shouldbe important to all Americans. The United States is a world leader; how can othercountries look to us as a model if our citizens speak poorly and soundunintelligent? Our laziness in using correct and articulate methods of expressingourselves is the beginning of the end of high cultural values in the UnitedStates.

This issue is also important because as I begin my adult life, Iwill need to present myself as an intelligent individual in job interviews. Idoubt that any employer wants to hire a person with poor grammar, since thatemployee would be unable to project a positive image of the company.

Thus,I conclude that this decline of speaking skills must be stopped before it becomestoo widespread to contain. The misuse of "like" is only the beginningof the decay of our nation's culture. There are no benefits to this poorcommunication, only detrimental consequences. We must band together to stop thisplague from infecting more people.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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