We mustn't ban words – even if they are, like, used on Love Island

From ITV Studios Love Island: SR5 on ITV2 Pictured: [Back row] Curtis Pritchard, Amy Hart, Joe Garratt, Yewande Biala, Anton Danyluk, Lucie Donlan, Anna Vakili, Amber Gill and Tommy Fury. [Front row] Michael Griffiths, Sharif Lanre and Callum Macleod. This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk
Rather than putting words in prison, we should turn them loose to fertilise the linguistic landscape Credit: Joel Anderson/ITV Picture Desk

Many and grievous are the crimes laid at the door of the Love Island villa. The soufflé-light summer confection of exiguous bikinis and inconclusive grapplings has been criticised for a lack of diversity and promoting an unrealistic body image. Now the censorious finger of linguistic probity is wagging at the contestants who can’t, like, hold a conversation without, like, punctuating every clause with “like”.

Someone has gone to the trouble of counting the “likes” in the islanders’ discourse, and the statistics are impressive. In 2017, gym instructor Gabby Allen apparently achieved a remarkable 36 “likes” in 90 seconds. The fact that Allen is now an author, her fitness book published last month...

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