What is driving the likes of my very close friend Brian Edwards nuts?

Here is the first sentence from an Associated Press report which I’ve just finished reading in the online edition of today’s Herald:

“WikiLeaks has offered to help the likes of Google and Apple identify the software holes used by purported CIA hacking tools – and that puts the tech industry in something of a bend.”

Now I don’t know who penned this story but it wouldn’t surprise me if the author was a Kiwi.

Why? Because “the likes of” has almost entirely replaced “like” , meaning “similar to”, in New Zealand journalism and, I fear, in everyday speech.

So why am I getting my knickers in a twist over this? Because “the likes of” is such an unnecessary and ugly construction compared to the simpler, more practical and more elegant “like”. Take this example:

1. Broadcasters the likes of Paul Henry, John Campbell and Mary Wilson are paid huge sums of money.

2. Broadcasters like Paul Henry, John Campbell and Mary Wilson are paid huge sums of money.

And it’s even uglier when the phrase is at the beginning of a sentence:

“Some broadcasters are paid huge sums of money. The likes of Paul Henry, John Campbell and Mary Wilson earn ten times more than the average nurse.”

Ugh! And this is now the norm in both the Kiwi print and broadcast media.

That’s because broadcast media is now essentially run by the likes of young women that have been educated by the likes of a pro-socialist journalism lecturers.  And once they hit the likes of the NZ Herald or Mediaworks, instead of finding seasoned and well-trained editors, they are immediately subjected to the likes of colleagues that are of a similar mindset and a similar lack of solid background.

That said, the likes of Brian should just relax.  There are a lot more important things to worry about.  Like the likes of me.


Brian Edwards

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