on the topic of please: do, did, done

in dennis miller style, i don’t mean to go off on a rant here but please stop doing this:

…and they say they did a study…  — source

Each semester we do a report…  — source

…skewed if a study was done in the…  — source

the other night i was watching Jaws with the family (classic movie, just brilliant) and one of my favorite scenes prompted a discussion afterward — you know the scene: Robert Shaw, as the surly Quint, sits in a town meeting and gets everyone’s attention by dragging his fingernails down the chalkboard. Spielberg is a genius!

the post-movie talk started with things-that-make-you-squirm and migrated into things-that-drive-you-nuts. there was the usual, “LA traffic” (my son), “LA helicopters as 6:30AM” (my wife) — me, i can sum up that and more with just “LA”. lots of things drive my daughter nuts but i’ll spare you all that. finally, it comes around to me, “What drives me nuts?”, i ask. “misuse and overuse of the verb ‘to do‘, i hear it all the time.”

blank stares and shaking heads followed by walking away. can i kill a conversation or what!

but it’s true, i do hear it all the time. it’s more often spoken than found in print but it is there also. i’m not sure why it bugs me; grammatically speaking, it’s not incorrect. but bug me it does. i’m not going pedantic on grammar here because learning english grammar is an exercise in suffering, just ask any kid. if you want an accurate and lighthearted read on ‘do‘, follow this link:  The Verb “Do” Is Weirder Than You Think.

my issue is really with how ‘do‘ is used when clear and unambiguous alternatives exist. i hear this on the news. i’ve read it in print from professional writers, governments, and consultants who charge enough per hour to know better. no, they did not do a study! they may have conducted a study or written one or read one or… take your pick. likewise, she may draft/write/read/publish a report but for the love of a higher-power, she is not going to do one.

with that, i am off. i have lots to do.


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