Gone and V-ed

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Tue Nov 7 17:52:06 UTC 2000

>Can anybody paraphrase the following construction:
>        But he's gone and drowned his dinner in syrup.
>It occurs in Harper Lee's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD in the following context:
>     Atticus shook his head at me again. "But he's gone and drowned
>his dinner in syrup," I protested. "He's poured it all over --"
>A southern student in my "Dialect Voices in Literature" class
>suggested that "gone and" is equivalent to PERFECT "done" in this
>construction. However, another southern student said she was not
>familiar with it. My African-American student had no clue either.
>The rest of white American students in the class had no idea. Can
>anybody on this list enlighten us?

Your question's a bit ambiguous.  Are the other students unfamiliar
with "gone and" or "done"?  The former seems unbelievable.

Are they familiar with "went and...?"  Geoff Sampson has suggested
that the perfect has mostly died in American English (I think he
exaggerates;  I also think he's talking about particular uses of the
perfect and not the form per se.  He thinks that the difference
between the past and the perfect is dying.)


M. Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 3AN    UK
phone:  +44(0)1273-678844
fax:    +44(0)1273-671320

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