I finally decided to do something about my bad colloquial speech (which I think has gotten worse after I came to the United States). I have been observing how people speak in public (I don't mean on a public platform but just amongst themselves) and have come to the conclusion that I have picked up what I have been hearing around me. I am determined to get rid of some of the 'figures of speech' that I seem to have picked up. Let me very briefly list a partial taxonomy of most common words that pepper (and in some cases, even drown) conversations -
1. By far, this is THE most irritating and aggravating word - Like
It seems so innocuous and small but people use it so often for everything that my blood boils whenever I hear it. I live in a small laid back college town and all I hear from every 16-22 year old college student is 'like'. Its range of applicability is jaw dropping. It is used as a substitute for so many articles that it really boggles the mind (mine atleast).
"She's like blah blah", "He's like blah blah" and the frequency with which they throw this word into any and all sentences could outgun any AK-47. Thankfully, I do not have this habit.
3. I mean
Both 'basically'' and 'I mean' are used more often when attempting to explain oneself in a clearer manner than the first time when all you did was confuse your listener. But, overused and improperly application have reduced its efficacy and is seen as noting more than an irritating filler.
I guess this is used to resolve some ambiguity but....
5. "you know" or "you know what I mean?"
this is most often used when the speaker, halfway thorough making his point, decides that he has said enough and prompts the listener to get the point quickly. This too is over used to over simplify speech.
Most of these words and their kind are intended to simplify speech and are used to connect sentences in a manner of preserving continuity of thought and speech but all they do, when overused and improperly applied, is to make speech and an intelligent exchange of ideas more difficult and aggravating.
I will add more as I come across them. Intelligent readers, please add more in the comments. I shall put them in the main post with due credit.