debate on "you did good"

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OAK.CATS.OHIOU.EDU
Wed Aug 15 04:53:10 UTC 2001

At 08:04 PM 8/14/01 +0800, you wrote:
>My own recollection (as I think I mentioned when we did have that
>debate on ads-l) was that there must be a dialect-borrowing source
>here because the expression frequently used (including in a certain
>radio commercial for an insurance company) is "You done good", where
>the preterit is clearly non-standard, and where the meaning is not
>the "good" of "Doing well by doing good", i.e. good deeds of the kind
>a do-gooder does, but of doing a job "good", i.e. (in the standard
>dialect) doing it well.

Yes, I think that's right, and I suggested as much in my first response to
the Childes people.  I suspect the 'done' has been changed to 'did' to make
the idiom more acceptable, as it clearly is now.  The "I'm good" reply in
the greeting adjacency pair is a bit more recent, isn't it?  "I'm well"
never sounded right anyway, since the question isn't about health but is
about "feeling good" (James Brown had it right).

More information about the Ads-l mailing list