I’M DONE WORK.

A recent post by Anatoly (in Russian) sent me to this post at Ganesha’s Scarf, which describes a phenomenon of Canadian speech of which I had been entirely ignorant:

Yesterday Libby informed me that for the past YEAR she has thought that I had some grammar problem because I kept saying I was done things… “I’m done work,” I’m done my sandwich,” I’m done Bossypants so now you can take it”, etc. Apparently she didn’t want to point it out lest she embarrass me, until the other day when she heard another Canadian interviewed who kept saying the same thing. (btw for everyone who has no clue what’s wrong with these quotes, apparently most people would say “I’m done with work” “I’m done with my sandwich” [...]
This blogpost is very likely the first website to write anything about the issue. All I’ve managed to find is a lot of arguing on various forums on whether it should be “I’m done dishes” or “I’m done with homework.” The forums confirm that this is Canadian and common to some parts of the East Coast – NJ, New Hampshire, Philadelphia.

The last bit about the East Coast of the U.S. sounds unlikely to me; I think I’d have heard of it in that case, and Anatoly says it’s confined to Canada. Is anybody familiar with this? (There must be linguistic literature about it, but I don’t know how to search for it.)

Comments

  1. (I’m Canadian, from Ontario.) I can confirm that I use this pattern of speech and had no idea anyone might do differently.

  2. D Sky Onosson says:

    Canadian here, and I use this, certainly (but not “I’m done dishes”!) Does this really not occur in General American? I had no idea this was a Canadian phenomenon.

  3. D Sky Onosson says:

    By the way, “I’m done my sandwich” and “I’m done with my sandwich” are not equivalent. The latter implies that there is some sandwich remaining, but I don’t want any more of it. The former would indicate that there isn’t any sandwich left.

  4. rootlesscosmo says:

    Born New York City, 1942; I’ve used this with “work” but never used or heard it with anything else.

  5. New Jersey here, and I definitely use that construction.

  6. Funny, this just came up on LJ. All I’ve ultimately learned is a. Canadians talk funny and b. they don’t realize it.
    http://linguaphiles.livejournal.com/5687109.html
    http://linguaphiles.livejournal.com/5672802.html

  7. New Jersey 1958, New York City 1976, never heard it, never used it. “I’m done with work” or “I’m done working”.

  8. I’m from New Hampshire and that construction sounds normal to me. I was not aware it’s a regionalism, I’ll have to be sure to use it more often.
    There is a scale though – ” done work” is completely normal, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. “done my sandwich” is also fine, however “I’m done the sandwich” would be weird, the construction definitely requires the possessive in this case. “I’m done dishes” sounds odd to me.
    What about “done” with gerunds? “I’m done skiing” or “I’m done drinking”? Isn’t that normal everywhere? “I’m done with skiing” means you have quit the activity, “I’m done skiing” means you are finished for the day.

  9. I know I have to resist my inner prescriptivist, but this is so wrong, so very wrong.

  10. Canadian, from Nova Scotia. I’ve used this for work, school, ‘my homework’, and maybe a few other things. Can’t think of other examples at the moment.

  11. Grew up in New Jersey, not far from Philadelphia. This is extremely familiar to me and I sometimes use it myself. I agree completely with Vanya’s comments on the limitations of this construction. “I’m done dishes” sounds odd to me.
    At least locally, this construction was considered slang, at least by my generation. We well aware as children that if we told a teacher, “I’m done my test”, we were likely to be corrected, and that “I’m done my report now” is definitely not the sort of thing you tell your boss.

  12. I guess this shows how often we are not aware what distinguishes one’s own use of language from that of other groups. I’m from southern Ontario, but it is only since moving to Scotland that people have been able to convince me that the whole ‘out and about’ thing is actually noticeable to other people. I definitely have always used the ‘done x’ construction and never thought it specifically Canadian. I agree that ‘I’m done dishes’ sounds odd, but that’s only because it would be ‘I’m done THE dishes’–at least, that’s the usage with which I am familiar.
    So are all of the following mainly Canadian usage?
    done the dishes
    done my homework
    done your chores
    done the housework
    done the book
    done my project/thesis/paper/etc.
    done supper

  13. I moved to Maine a few years ago (I’m originally from the midwest) and encountered this phenomenon. I’ve since had a lot of arguments with people in which I tried to tell them that this construction was incorrect and no one believed me. So it’s not just limited to Canada, it has bled down into New England as well.

  14. This ex-pat Canuck most assuredly says, “I’m done work” and “I’m done working.” These sentences contain the implied phrase “for the x,” where x is a unit of time — usually a day or week.
    As I think about it (which I’d never done before because I’d never noticed the usage), it occurs to me that I also say, “I’m done swimming” and the like.
    I was about to write that I would not say, “I’m done dishes.” But it’s not true. I might say it in a light tone accompanied by a gesture.
    I have many American friends who live or grew up in the Northeast U.S. No one has ever remarked on the matter; I’d go so far as to say that they all know the usage.
    Does the saying “Seen it, did it, got the t-shirt” fit this mold?

  15. Mark, I’d say “done the dishes”, but after an “I’ve” not an “I’m”.
    It’s not the “done the noun” part that’s so weird, it’s the fact that it comes after “I’m”.

  16. Here’s an article that reveals all:
    Yerastov, Yuri. 2010. ‘Done, finished, and started as reflexes of the Scottish transitive be perfect in North America: their synchrony, diachrony, and current marginalisation‘.
    It’s a pdf and I’m not sure how to link to it. You’ll just have to gulag the title.
    Language: The last bit about the East Coast of the U.S. sounds unlikely to me;
    Yuri Yerastov says :

    When I interviewed native speakers of English from Cape Breton, Northeastern Vermont, Montreal, Cardston (Alberta), and Saskatoon, I found the occurrence of the construction [I am {done, finished, started} NP], as exemplified below:
    (1) a. I am done dinner
    b. I am finished my homework
    c. I am started this project
    I also found a less productive variant of this construction, which only allows [I am {done/ finished} NP], but not [I am started NP]. This variant that occurs in many other Canadian dialects (e.g. Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver), as well as in Philadelphia.

    He says later:

    I have amassed some evidence that suggests that [be done NP] occurs in Vermont, Philadelphia, and North Carolina. The robust occurrence of these tokens in Vermont may be corroborated by the author of the present essay, who at some point lived there not as a researcher but as a high school student; some of the most common tokens that I heard while attending Lake Region Union High School in Orleans, Vermont, were:
    (9) a. I am done my essay.
    b. I am finished my homework.
    c. I am started this project.
    Doing fieldwork in Vermont (2007-2009), I collected a variety of tokens of [be done NP], some of which are presented below in § 5. For independent confirmation of my Vermont data, one could refer to the audio files and electronic transcripts of ethnographic narratives collected and processed by Sterling College (Craftsbury, Vermont); there one can find two tokens of [be done NP]:
    (10) My father had three brothers one of which went to high school, I think the whole way. But he went away and boarded away, when he went
    to high school he never came back. When he was done high school he was on his own.
    Transcript of interview with Bradley Allen of Wolcott, Vermont http://www.digitalcommunitiesproject.org
    (11) My grandfather Fisk, when I was going to high school. He used to sit out on the porch, by the road. One night I got so blue and lonesome I walked home from Craftsbury Common. He never said a word to me when I went by, but after I got in the house up there he was right there behind
    me. Said, what in the hell are you doing here? Is what he said to me. [laughs] I said, I’m all done school. Like hell you are, what‘s the trouble?
    Transcript of interview with Eva Colgrove of Wolcott, Vermont http://www.digitalcommunitiesproject.org
    Some evidence of [be done NP] occurring in the Philadelphia region may be found online; consider, for example, a discussion of [be done NP] in 22
    Phildelphia vis-à-vis Pittsburgh in (12), as well as a spontaneous token produced by a speaker on a social networking site in (13).
    Yerastov, Scottish transitive be perfect in North America
    (12) [Question] How many of you use this grammatical construction – ‗I’m done my homework.‘ It is used by virtually everyone in the Philadelphia region, where I’m from, and I had never thought anything of it until a couple months ago when it was pointed out to me that it’s not used here in Pittsburgh, where I attend school. Quite a surprise to me.
    [Answer] This is a very big issue where I come from. Yes, I come from the Philadelphia Region. If ‗I’m done my homework’ or ‘I’m done the dishes’ is said around here, it sounds completely normal. However, it’s not grammatically correct. I spend a lot of time in Utah, and if I were to
    say that to someone, they would give me the strangest look ever! Though when i came back to New Jersey and tried to explain […] my point to my
    friends, they didn’t understand why that’s wrong. http://www.antimoon.com/forum/t1301-0.htm
    (13) hey baby i am done dinner but i stayed up really late last night so do you mind if i take like an hour nap and we hang out around 8? http://comment.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.view Comments&friendID=56331396
    There is also some tenuous evidence of the construction occurring in the Southern United States. For example, in Liberman‘s (2007) Language Log,
    Dick Margulis cites Kyle McCaskill, who reports:
    (14) Up until today I had never heard this usage from anyone but my husband: ‗I am done this book,‘ meaning, ‗I have finished reading this book.‘ He’s from North Carolina, so I thought it was colloquial southern phrasing.

  17. When this Australian went to the U.S. West coast, one of the first things he noticed was that people said ‘I’m done’ when they’d finished eating. Not that ‘I’m done’ is actually wrong, but:
    (1) ‘I’m done’ is something I would say when I’d finished a task (like having a shower, etc.), and to say that about eating a meal sounds ever so slightly disrespectful to the cook or host.
    (2) ‘I’m done’ sounds somewhat more colloquial, and in my own usage I think the weight of usage has shifted in the direction of ‘I’ve finished’.
    These thoughts came up because I don’t see the Canadian usage as having the same meaning as ‘done with’. ‘Done with’ is perfectly normal in my own usage, being a milder version of ‘had it with’, and is definitely different from ‘I’m done’. Looking at the Canadian usage, ‘I’m done’ looks like a substitute for ‘I’ve finished….’ So where the Canadian usage says ‘I’m done the dishes’ or ‘I’m done work’, I would normally say ‘I’ve finished the dishes’ or ‘I’ve finished work’. (Actually, I’d probably say ‘I’ve finished the washing up’ or ‘I’ve knocked off work’, but anyway).
    I think the confusion with ‘done with’ in the Ganesha’s Scarf post actually obscures how the Canadian usage works.

  18. AJP: Thanks very much indeed! I stand in awe of your research skills. As for
    The last bit about the East Coast of the U.S. sounds unlikely to me
    …it’s clear to me from this thread alone that I was wrong about that, and the article provides the details. It is odd, however, that the phenomenon is so little known.
    I know I have to resist my inner prescriptivist, but this is so wrong, so very wrong.
    That was Anatoly’s reaction as well; he’s not a native speaker, but his English is very good indeed, he has a feel for different dialects and levels of usage, and he said that when he ran across this it didn’t strike him as dialectal but as something a foreign learner of English might come up with. It strikes me, and clearly you, that way as well; I wonder why that is? What makes this construction so very wrong/odd-sounding (for those of us who don’t use it, obviously)?

  19. when he ran across this it didn’t strike him as dialectal but as something a foreign learner of English might come up with. It strikes me, and clearly you, that way as well; I wonder why that is?
    I think the key lies in the title of the article that AJP O’Rangtuan dug up: ‘Done, finished, and started as reflexes of the Scottish transitive be perfect in North America: their synchrony, diachrony, and current marginalisation‘.
    The problem is with this so-called Scottish transitive be perfect (which I’d never heard of before). ‘Be + past participle’ is fine with a lot of English verbs, although sometimes archaic-sounding. So it’s quite natural in English to say ‘I’m done’. What is unnatural is to say ‘I’m done + NP’. Can you think of any similar English expressions? ‘I’m broken the cup’? ‘I’m fixed dinner’? I think that is where the problem lies.

  20. That is also why people immediately try to ‘fix’ the construction by adding a ‘with’. ‘I’m done the dishes’ sounds wrong, so people automatically insert a ‘with’ to make it ok. The problem is that ‘I’m done the dishes’ isn’t equivalent to ‘I’ve done with the dishes’, it’s equivalent to ‘I’ve finished the dishes’.

  21. Sorry, that should have been:
    The problem is that ‘I’m done the dishes’ isn’t equivalent to ‘I’m done with the dishes’, it’s equivalent to ‘I’ve finished the dishes’.

  22. In German some verbs take haben=have with the past participle, as in English, while other take sein=be. Right? As if in English we were to say
    I am [not have] traveled to Cologne.
    I am [not have] come home.
    I am [not have] been very sleepy lately.
    Actually the second of these sounds a tad archaic, but not wrong. As does “The Lord is [not has] come” in the Christmas carol.
    Are these old-fashioned usages vestiges of a mostly forgotten pattern? Was there a time when “The Lord has come” would have been wrong?
    Is this “done work” phenomenon a vestige of a more robust usage in a (Scottish?) dialect where one would never say “I have done the thing you asked”, but rather “I am done the thing you asked”?
    It seems to me that in some expressions the word “done” functions more as an adjective than as a (participial) verb. And not just “done”. A red herring is that some examples of this stem from the passive (is that the right term?) use of “be” with participle:
    I have [not am] closed the book, but the book is [not has] closed.
    I have [not am] done a deal, but the deal is [not has] done.
    So, a closed book, a done deal. Or dinner is done to a turn.
    But it’s not always like that, right?
    In “I am done” there is no suggestion that something did me.
    And in “all the money is gone”, there’s not transitive verb involved: it’s not that some agent went the money.
    What’s up with this, anyway? OK, I’m done.

  23. David Derbes says:

    I think this is Scots in origin. I heard it all the time in Edinburgh 1975-79. There are a lot of folks of Scottish extraction in Canada.
    You’d set up a time to meet your friends at the pub; “Och, I’ll get there once I’m done work, say half five.”

  24. There are a lot of folks of Scottish extraction in Canada.
    I had no idea how Scottish Canada was until I got off the train in Edinburgh. I felt I was in Ottawa!
    The Daily Scotsman reads more / feels more like a Canadian newspaper than anything published in London.
    I recall reading that a great many of the factors who worked in the Hudson’s Bay Co. fur trading posts were Scottish. (Check out Moose Factory on the web.)

  25. I’m Canadian and can confirm this speech pattern.
    Note:
    “I’m done work” means I’ve finished my workday
    “I’m done with work” means I won’t be returning to that place ever.
    Similarly,
    “I’m done the dishes” means I finished washing them.
    “I’m donr with the dishes” means I will be replacing them.

  26. “I’ll get there once I’m done work” sounds utterly natural to me, and I use “done work” myself. “When he was done high school he was on his own” sounds natural to me too (it’s surprising to me that “done high school” would not sound natural to most people), though many of the other examples given do sound odd to me. I would never use “I am started this project,” for instance. I’m from Virginia and my speech tends toward the southern side of things (I was hardly aware of NE speech patterns, let alone Canadian, growing up).

  27. I hear this all the time in Vancouver from Canadian grad students in my department, whether they be from Newfoundland or from Richmond BC. I found it interesting that it’s a direct parallel to a construction I recall in Hawaiian English, from Hawaiian Pidgin: I’m pau (D) NP. So “I’m pau hana” ‘I’m done work’, “I’m pau da essay” ‘I’m done the essay’, etc. This is not the same as the Hawaiian Pidgin construction, which has just ‘I’ as the subject and ‘pau’ is a verb.

  28. In linguistics this distinction is encapsulated in the contrast between unergative and unaccusative verbs, i.e., intransitive verbs whose subject is, from a semantic perspective, the doer (agent) or the experiencer (patient) of the action. In Romance and Germanic languages (like French, Italian, German, and Dutch) that have two different auxiliaries for forming the perfective past (preterite), unergative verbs take “to have” (avere/avoir/haben/etc.) as the auxiliary and unaccusative verbs take “to be” (essere/être/sein/etc.). Vestiges of the unergative/unaccusative distinction seem to have survived as late as Early Modern English (hence “the Lord is come”). Radford’s Syntax: A Minimalist Introduction gives some examples from Shakespeare, like “How chance thou art returned so soon?” (Comedy of Errors, I.ii) “She is fallen into a pit of ink.” (Much Ado About Nothing, IV.i)

  29. rootlesscosmo says:

    A Squibb Pharmaceuticals indigestion pill was advertised in the 1930′s with the slogan
    “Finished your dinner? Now it’s acid’s turn to dine!”

  30. @bathrobe:he problem is that ‘I’m done the dishes’ isn’t equivalent to ‘I’m done with the dishes’, it’s equivalent to ‘I’ve finished the dishes’.
    In my dialect, there is no difference between I’m done with… and I’m finished with…
    I find it interesting that for those who familiarly use the I’m done [the dishes, etc.} that adding a ‘with’ changes the sense to one of forever after. It does not have those connotations to me.

  31. I’ll also note the similarity with the British usage of ‘done’ that I’m mostly familiar with from reading inordinate numbers of English mysteries, where one might answer a question by saying “I have done” where an American would say merely, “I have,” For example one might be asked “Have you finished your lessons?” and the BE answer would be “I have done.” rather than merely, “I have.”

  32. @grackle
    Just curious, if you heard/read something like: “I’m done with work, I’m done with kowtowing to unreasonable bosses, I’m done with doing overtime every night, I’m done with phone calls over the weekend! I quit!”, would it suggest something other than ‘forever after’? Although I guess you could, if you wanted, substitute ‘finish’: “I’m finished work, I’m finished kowtowing to unreasonable bosses, I’m finished doing overtime every night, I’m finished with phone calls over the weekend! I quit!”. As I said, just curious about the nuance here.
    The British expression ‘I have done’ doesn’t relate to this case. ‘Done’ is just a dummy verb standing in for the verb in the question.

  33. Ugh! The second one should have been:
    “I’ve finished work, I’ve finished kowtowing to unreasonable bosses, I’ve finished doing overtime every night, I’ve finished with phone calls over the weekend! I quit!”

  34. Margaret S. says:

    Another Ontarian to whom this is normal and natural, and is finding out for the first time that it’s not standard. Can those of you who don’t use this construction explain why it sounds wrong, and what you say instead?

  35. I wonder whether “I’m done X-ing”, which I do use, is also parochial. Google Ngrams search doesn’t show any instances of I’m done working or I’m done eating in the British English corpus, but it is found in the American English corpus. Could our English participants weigh in here?
    Empty: Apparent uses of be + participle (which is the regular passive form) aren’t always participles: sometimes they are just predicate adjectives. The door was closed is ambiguous between an a state adjective and event expressed by a passive. By contrast, we must say the door was open for state, the door was opened for event.
    Wimbrel: I did a search in the KJV some time back, and found come, go, become as the only surviving verbs that use unergative syntax beyond all doubt; returned, fallen and the like are arguably stative adjectives of the type I mentioned above, though no longer so in contemporary English. The have/be distinction must be part of the European Sprachbund, as it is not present in older IE languages.
    Bathrobe and Grackle: Add me to the list of those for whom I’m done with the dishes and I’m finished with the dishes normally do mean the same thing. Pragmatically this can be overridden with sentential stress on done, or by context. I myself would tend to use through with rather than either done with or finished (with) in the “forever” situation. Alternatively, I could say I’m done with doing the dishes.

  36. But I wasn’t talking about ‘done with’ and ‘finished with’.
    My point was that ‘done with’ and ‘done’ are not the same thing. I agree that ‘done with’ and ‘finish with’ are the same, and ‘done’ and ‘finished’ are also the same.

  37. The question is whether the additional ‘with’ adds any extra nuance or meaning or not.

  38. Yes it does, Bathrobe. By putting them in the dishwasher, I’ve done the dishes in no time. I’m done with doing them by hand.

  39. Another Ontarian to whom this is normal and natural, and is finding out for the first time that it’s not standard. Can those of you who don’t use this construction explain why it sounds wrong, and what you say instead?
    It sounds wrong because we don’t say it and aren’t used to hearing it; what we say instead would depend on the specific example. “I’m done work” would (if I understand the nuance correctly) be “I’ve finished working.”

  40. “I’m done work” would (if I understand the nuance correctly) be “I’ve finished working.”
    Not necessarily. It could also mean “I’ve left/am leaving work (my place of employment).” It could also mean “will be finished work.” I.e
    A; “when should I pick you up tonight?”
    B: “I’m done work at 5, so anytime after that.”
    I actually find it hard to imagine how one can speak English on a daily basis without access to such a handy construction.

  41. @Vanya:
    In your example B: I would say “I finish work at 5″ (if that is my regular schedule) or “I’ll have finished my work by 5″
    I actually find it hard to imagine how one can speak English on a daily basis without access to such a handy construction.
    We get by somehow :) I didn’t even use “I’m done” as a standalone sentence when I grew up in England: it’s something I picked up when I moved to the US. In England I would have said “I’ve finished”.

  42. @johncowan
    I wonder whether “I’m done X-ing”, which I do use, is also parochial. Google Ngrams search doesn’t show any instances of I’m done working or I’m done eating in the British English corpus, but it is found in the American English corpus. Could our English participants weigh in here?
    I used to be English. I do not use, and have never used, “I’m done X-ing”, although I’ve picked up “I’m done” as a complete sentence since moving to the US (Northern California).
    I say “I’ve finished X-ing” instead (just as I used to say “I’ve finished” for “I’m done” before coming to the US).

  43. D Sky Onosson says:

    Really interesting discussion so far. I’m wondering, for those of you who don’t use “I’m done X”, do you have available “I’m finished X?” I use both, and I think they are essentially equivalent. I can also use “have” with both verbs, but it definitely is more formal, especially with “done”.

  44. D Sky Onosson says:

    Really interesting discussion so far. I’m wondering, for those of you who don’t use “I’m done X”, do you have available “I’m finished X?” I use both, and I think they are essentially equivalent. I can also use “have” with both verbs, but it definitely is more formal, especially with “done”.

  45. I’m surprised no one’s mentioned that there’s also the US ‘done’ used for emphasis, as in I done told you baby.

  46. I’m wondering, for those of you who don’t use “I’m done X”, do you have available “I’m finished X?”
    I certainly don’t. I don’t think I’m ever heard it, either :)

  47. Never heard it myself, even though I’m from the general area in the U.S. Really, however, I wanted to comment less to add my two cents than to further applaud AJP’s research. The areas mentioned in it are not ones I frequent, though they’re not exactly far.

  48. Some time ago we had a Canadian exchange student staying with us, a native Canadian French speaker. She left a lovely note in English thanking us for the hospitality, except she wrote several times ‘I would like to grate you…’ We had a generous laugh and decided it was an excusable mistake. But having read the above, I begin to wonder: maybe it is indeed a Canadian usage and folks there do say ‘grate’ meaning ‘thank’? anyone?

  49. D Sky Onosson says:

    @Sashura: I’ve never heard that usage myself. I’m Canadian, 40 years old, from Manitoba.

  50. ah, thanks!

  51. Thank you, Language & Jimsal. Fortuitous googling found me that article by Yuri Yerastov, I couldn’t repeat it.

  52. Just to add another data point: I hear this construction regularly from a group of my friends who’ve spent their whole lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Having grown up in California, I’d never heard it before meeting them.
    (Another construction they use which I’d never heard before meeting them, and which still sounds strange to me: “I’m going over John’s for dinner.”)

  53. Doesn’t seem to be a generational thing, does it? Is it a rural/urban divide? Or just a spotty regional thing? I’m 25 and from a bit west of Baltimore, MD. I definitely grew up saying this. My parents (from IN and TN) gave me a hard time about it, so I knew it wasn’t standard, but that didn’t change the fact that it sounded fine to my ear.
    @D Sky Onosson: I have both “I’m done X” and “I’m finished X” available, and hear them as essentially equivalent. “Finished” might be a little more formal.
    I use them both primarily for chores and tasks, especially school-related stuff: “I’m done my homework. Can I go outside?” “When I’m finished my PhD, I’ll probably be headed off to a postdoc position somewhere.” On the other hand, “I’m done the laundry” sounds pretty marginal to me. That might just be because I learned the construction from other kids, not from my parents’ speech.

  54. Doesn’t seem to be a generational thing, does it? Is it a rural/urban divide? Or just a spotty regional thing?
    That last would be my guess. I’m 27, and only a 2-hour ride down 95 (with a few switches on 395 and 495, if memory serves); I’ve spent my fair share of time in both cities and suburbs; and it sounds perfectly strange to me.

  55. “I’m done work” sounds perfectly normal to me, but the other examples don’t. Grew up in a strongly French Canadian city in NH in the 1950s and 60s.

  56. Connecticut here; I’ve never heard of it :/

  57. @AJP: “Done” isn’t (just) an emphasis marker. It’s a very complex aspect modal.

  58. I wonder if this is related to the British (Scottish?) usage of “agree a new contract” as opposed to the American “agree on [or to] a new contract.” There’s a similar dropped preposition.

  59. I live in Philadelphia but was raised in northern Pennsylvania, and I notice this constantly. At my workplace, I hear the construction on a daily basis, and it’s very productive. Not only do I hear phrases such as “done work” and “done lunch”, but also less specific constructions like “When you’re done that, can you come help me?”
    It’s generally more blue collar, but it does cross into upper class speech a fair amount. If you grew up in Northeast Philly, you’re weird if you don’t say it this way.
    As far as I can tell, it’s white only, with no bleeding over into AAVE. Also, it crosses over a variety of nationalities—I have heard folks of Italian, Slavic, and Irish heritage use it, including first generation children of immigrants. If it comes from a particular language, it’s been picked up by everyone else along the way.

  60. Salt: That’s funny, I do a lot of business in north Philly, on Aramingo near Allegheny, a few miles east of the 16th most dangerous neighborhood in the country, at least according to Daily Finance (I wanted to include a link, but apparently Hat’s site will tolerate the phrase “dailyfin@nce.com,” probably for good reason); and despite that familiarity, I can’t ever recall hearing that locution, although I’ll listen for it now of course — and probably start encountering it left and right.

  61. “Hat’s site *won’t* tolerate,” that is, of course. Apologies.

  62. Salt: You’ve had the pound cake at Stock’s on Lehigh, right? If not, you’re missing out. It’s cheap, and it’s damn good. The chocolate chip cookies too.

  63. I was taught that English has verbs of state, and verbs of motion/ change. “The Lord is come” uses “come” as a verb of state with auxiliary “be”, and describes what is true now, regardless of the past. “The Lord has come” uses “come” as a verb of change with auxiliary “have”, and implies that something is now true that formerly wasn’t, ie, that something has changed. (We can argue the theology later.)
    In this analysis, “I’m done work” uses “do” as a verb of state, describing a current condition, rather than emphasizing an alteration, or completion, or some other change. Seems OK to me, but I’m a New Englander.

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