"should have done"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Dec 8 15:37:30 UTC 2005

    Doug Wilson wrote on Nov. 26 :

  "MWDEU has a section (under "do") on this "use of _do_ as a pro-form".
The book says it's primarily British and has been examined since 1823 at
least. It says that the construction appears to be avoided in British
"dignified prose" but that the Americans show no such restraint when they use it
(which is seldom, I guess)."

  Here's an example, in the present tense,  from an influential source usually regarded as "dignified prose" :

  1643 J. Milton  _Areopagetica_  para. 26 :

  We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons, nor ever shall do, till her Master’s second coming.

  This construction, to me, remains quite as odd as "positive _anymore_."


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