Annoying vocal mannerisms: "right?" is the new "like"

It’s now commonplace that people say like like a zillion times in the average sentence, right? And the number of times they say “like” is in inverse proportion to their age, right? So if you’re a teenager, right?, every other word will be “like,” but if you’re an old person, over 40 right?, you might only use “like” once or twice in a sentence, right?

I listen to more online classes and lectures than I did pre-COVID, right? And some podcasts, and YouTube videos, too, right?, and I’ve noticed, right?, that people now say “right?” (with a rising inflection) almost as often as they used to say “like.” And it doesn’t seem to be related to age, right? Or education, or profession, right?

I listened to an hour-long podcast this morning from the radio program Hidden Brain where the guest, a PhD professor, stuck in the gratuitous “right?” approximately four hundred and fifty-two BILLION times during her presentation. I zoom with an online meditation class every day that has a short introduction followed by a period of silent sitting. Many of the presenters, right?, also insert “right?” right in the middle of sentences and phrases. These are teachers, authors, clergy, therapists–people who do a lot of public speaking in their jobs. They sound like middle schoolers when in addition to “right?” as every other word, they also throw in plenty of “like” and “you know” AND begin all their sentences with “so.”

I need a drink of water.

I thought ‘like’ was the new ‘right?’. Definitely heard the latter long before the former.

I have not noticed any uptick in the usage of “right” or any use of it to a distracting level but now, of course, I will be hyperaware every time it is used and it will start to drive me nuts, too. Thanks. :wink:

“Y’know” is pretty prevalent too. (In fact, as I opened thus box to type this, with MSNBC on, I’ve heard it once)

I communicate a lot via text, and np is so common, yet I’m repeatedly confused by it.

Me: Thanks for letting me know
Employee: np

It confused me there for a second, too. I got it in a few seconds, though.

I blame the catch phrase of this guy.

(youtube vid)

While refueling my vehicle last week a man doing the same at the opposite pump was loudly talking on his phone. Every sentence or statement was followed by “Y’know what I’m sayin’?”. It had to be at least two dozen times.

A phrase that I now and forever think of the t-shirt

That’s pretty cool.

Not as bad as guys who end sentences with, “Am I right?” Fairly often, “No you’re not.”

I’ve noticed the right?s, too. I’m also sick of politicians telling me to look. “Look, the economic recovery is …”

Yeah, I’ve noticed it, but it doesn’t grind my gonads as much as starting every sentence with “So…” does.

And I think I’ve come across a replacement for “So…” - “I feel like…”

“I feel like our food should be here by now.”
“Yeah, I feel like we ordered an hour ago.”
“I feel like they’re not even that busy.”
“I feel like we should just leave.”

And so on.


How about “whaaaaaaaaaaat?” in a high pitched voice with vocal fry, said as an element of surprise.

I’ve seen it in two recent commercials, one a credit card commercial where a young woman who owns a food delivery service sees that her business is exponentially increasing due to an influencer recommendation, and the other a fast food place where another young woman sees that Hi-C is on the menu.

Kelly Loeffler lost her Senate seat, in part, because she used this every time she opened her stupid mouth. “Look” at the beginning of a statement makes the speaker sound like a begging loser, while “you see” at the end sounds bullying. Both should be eschewed by the effective speaker (along with obscure words like “eschew”).

The thing I hate the most about “right?” is that it implies agreement. And it makes me feel like they’re trying to sell me something.

So while “like” or “uh” or “so” are just annoying verbal tics, “right?” drags forward my contrarian side and makes me distrust the person who is saying it. AND it makes me want to jump in and say “no, you’re wrong. WRONG WRONG! WRONG!! WRONG! WRONG!!!” when they inevitably say something I don’t agree with. Because if they had just said their wrong thing without involving me, I could let it go. But when they add “right?” I’m involved unless I explicitly opt myself out of whatever nonsense is being spewed.
So I still have to interrupt, which I don’t like, and do it forcefully (because people who use “right?” never do it at the end of their thought, always in the middle because they seem to assume everyone agrees with them) and blech…
everything about that habit drives me up the wall.

Now the word that bothers me is now. Now yesterday I heard it again on the radio (old persons substitute for the internet), and now over the last decade I’ve heard it a lot more often than I like.

It isn’t always used to start a sentence about some other time: it’s just a word for starting a generic paragraph (I cheated above where using it to start every sentence). But it particularly irritates me when the paragraph starts with a contradiction like that.

I mean, this is how some people start to speak. I mean, really, what’s with that?

Fun fact: the program I use to create captions for psychology lectures, Descript, removes ums, uhs, sos, like, and right? as one of their auto-features. You wouldn’t believe how many people I’ve recorded lectures with who have Ph.D.s can’t go 12 words without saying “right.”

I wish it would also slice out “and again” with a click of that button…

Every one of the annoyances mentioned above has a place on my pet peeves list. I also ffind that I immediately stop listening to people who say “I was like…” then quote something they said during the incident they’re relating.

The OP may be interested in this BBQ Pit thread.