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Is it correct to say "that place is like 5 miles from here"? I'm not sure if the use of "like" is correct?

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marked as duplicate by tchrist, waiwai933 Mar 6 '13 at 18:47

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

In this sentence it is informal or slang and means "about" or "approximately". e.g. "How far is it to McDonald's?" "It's like 5 miles"

In the right context, it could also imply a "presumed magnitude", as Fortiter put it. e.g. "Can you give me a ride to John's house?" "Dude, that's like 20 miles away."

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In "youth speak" this use of like probably indicates the presumed magnitude of the distance rather than any uncertainty. It asserts that it is unreasonable to expect him to travel that distance for such a trivial purpose as getting a job (for example). –  Fortiter Mar 6 '13 at 1:18
    
It would depend on context and tone of voice. But you are right, it could definitely mean that. Added to answer –  Kevin Mar 6 '13 at 15:05
    
I disagree. 'Like' here is still just a filler. Just because it is in a location that is often used to put an 'uncertainty' qualifier, doesn't mean it is. –  Mitch Mar 6 '13 at 15:29
    
@Mitch maybe it's a regional thing, but it is certainly used both ways were I come from. In "Regina is, like, ridiculously hot." like=filler. In "It's like five miles from here." like=approximately. "A marathon is, like, 26.2 miles." like=filler. –  Kevin Mar 6 '13 at 15:37

"Like" is a placeholder introduced in recent developments in English, usually adopted by younger users. If you are to replace it with anything, use "er" or "um" or some similar interjection.

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I think the OP's use of "like" could be a replacement for "about" or "approximately" as Kevin answered. The filler "like" would be used this way, "That concert was like totally awesome, man!" (IMO, of course!) :-) –  Kristina Lopez Mar 5 '13 at 23:05
    
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@Carlo_R., thanks for the compliment and for the reminder - I meant to join ELL - I'll do it right now! :-) –  Kristina Lopez Mar 5 '13 at 23:19

I would say no. I think "like" needs a noun as its object. You could maybe say it is something like a 5-mile distance from here. To use "like" with an adjectival phrase sounds too much like informal spoken English.

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So, like, what's wrong with informal spoken English? –  Robusto Mar 5 '13 at 23:21
    
We like precision. –  Fortiter Mar 6 '13 at 1:19

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