I'm done my homework

David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Fri Dec 10 14:03:45 UTC 2004

From:    "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>

: warning!  warning!  the idiom in question is BE DONE/FINISHED NP 'be
: done/finished with NP'.  HAVE DONE/FINISHED NP (have done your
: homework, have finished the dishes, etc.) is, so far as i know, not
: only widespread, but standard; it's just the perfect of DO/FINISH NP.

FWIW, to eliminate any confusion, my intuitions about the regional
distribution of this in Maryland were based on a correct reading of the
idiom you're talking about.

: it seems likely to me that BE DONE/FINISHED NP is an extension of BE
: DONE/FINISHED VPing (I'm done washing the dishes, Are you finished
: doing your homework?), with a VPing complement.  this would be on
: analogy with other aspectual verbs, which occur with both VPing
: complements and ordinary NP objects (I began/continued/finished
: singing, I began/continued/finished my song, etc.).

Makes sense to me.

You're listing these as *an* idiom, though, and i'm not sure they really
are. BE DONE NP sounds <ObIntuitionDisclaimer> more well-formed to me than
BE FINISHED NP, for example, though i don't think i actually use either of


David Bowie                                         http://pmpkn.net/lx
    Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
    house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
    chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

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