grammar talk

a place to discuss grammar questions...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Done eating?

Is it ever correct to say "Are you done eating?" or "Are you finished eating?" I know you can say "Have you finished eating?"

6 Comments:

Blogger ceslstudents said...

This is a good question. I have waited a while hoping someone else would jump in, but the silence is deafening!

"Done" in this sentence is colloquial- casual English. People say it all the time, and I grew up hearing it, but I consider "finished" more formal and would more likely use "Are you finished eating?" in a more formal situation.

In the sentence, "He is done," done can be considered a stative adjective (like "he is lost" or "he is drunk"; it's not a verb, and didn't come from a passive, because nobody did him.

However in "He is done eating," it's really more a replacement, a synonym for "finished", because it actually borrows the grammar of "finished"...

Does that help?

Tom Leverett

6:55 PM  
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3:03 PM  
Blogger jeanne said...

I am so tired of people being done. Done should be used if you are cookies and you are done baking. If you are a person you are finished eating the cookies. Done used incorrectly is just poor use of the English language.

2:06 PM  
Blogger leeskerette said...

I am definitely a "finished" person, and find the increased use of "done" to be part of the "dumbing down" of English, as used by Americans. I just heard an AARP commercial on t.v. -- It said, "At AARP, we think you're never done growing." Accepted or not, it sounded so childish to me! People may speak that casual way to friends, but I would think an organization like AARP would want to project a more "grown up" image. I am decidedly a product of my mother, who spoke beautiful English and insisted that we kids do, as well. I know that times have changed, but I think there's still room for intelligent-sounding talk. Pretty soon the pervasive "Where is the car at?" will be accepted by the experts. That's too bad.

2:43 PM  

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