That's how it seems to me, at least.
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It's definitely informal, though. I wonder if the chatty quality that it gives a sentence can make it sound more dismissive than it technically is? JustKate , Dec 2, I see, "the likes of" as entirely neutral but influenced by context: I would not have raised an eyebrow at the Scientific American example. Perhaps it is the human tendency to be critical rather than praising PaulQ , Dec 2, Not "automatically dismissive," just "more often than not" in my experience.
Perhaps I tend to read more negative things than others do. PaulQ, In my case, I think my eyebrows shot up just because I happen to have come across the term more often in a critical sense than a neutral or favorable one, which depends on the context and what follows "the likes of" more than it does on the attitude of the reader. Or is that, perhaps, the point you are making? Granted, I am old, and it may also be that the way this expression is used has been changing during the past several decades. Snyps , Dec 3, Yes, I agree that the dismissive side is probably commoner as in 2 "We don't want the likes of you around here.
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Likewise, "We will not see the likes of them again. PaulQ , Dec 3, In my experience, "the likes" always goes with "of" and an object and means "such people, etc.
Forero , Dec 3, London English - British. There is a problem common to 'the likes of' which is colloquial and 'such as' which is suitable in correct written English. In either case, the speaker or writer wants to increase the range of the statement, but without telling us who or what the other examples of it are. This always makes me wonder whether there really are any other valid examples. Hi Snyps - welcome to the forums!
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Like you, I would have been rather taken aback by "the likes of Albert Einstein"; the phrase "the likes of" definitely has dismissive overtones for me. I wouldn't, for example, use Paul's "We will not see the likes of them again" in respect of people I admired: Loob , Dec 3, I hadn't thought of it, but now that I see your suggestion for people we admire, I am in complete agreement with it. I'm glad to meet someone who has a sense of this expression that resembles my own.
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