"Don't just do something...."

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon May 2 20:31:30 UTC 2011

On Mon, May 2, 2011 at 3:23 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> Surprisingly, even the most reductive version of the original statement
> ("Don't stand there. Do something.") only goes back to 1936 in GB:
> http://books.google.com/books?id=3DLYcUAAAAIAAJ&q=3D%22don't+stand+there,+d=
> o+something%22&dq=3D%22don't+stand+there,+do+something%22&hl=3Den&ei=3DOQK_=
> TaTGLPDr0QGXtdXWBQ&sa=3DX&oi=3Dbook_result&ct=3Dresult&resnum=3D3&ved=3D0CD=
> QQ6AEwAjha
> I am sure this phenomenon (which I'm calling "no evidence of the obvious")
> says as much about language and society as it may about linguistic
> documentation, but I hate to think what.

If it makes you feel any better, it also appears in Arthur Law's play
_The New Boy_ (published in 1904, staged in 1894):



Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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