Who-done-it

Discussion in 'English Only' started by TheNovice, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. TheNovice Junior Member

    Jambi Indonesia
    Indonesian
    Hi,
    "Goody points out that the written form of language releases us from the linear experiential mode: 'the fact that it takes a visual form means that one can escape from the problem of the succession of events in time, by backtracking, skipping, looking to see who-done-it before we know what it is they did." (Gillian Brown, 1977:124)
    I don't understand what he means by 'who-done-it' in that quote. I expect it to be 'who-did/does-it'.
    Any help will be appreciated.
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    This is a deliberate use of bad grammar for humor. Mystery stories are often called "who-done-its". You're right, "who did it" or "who does it" are correct grammar. You don't need to hyphenate them, either.
     
  3. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Here is more about whodunit (different spelling, same word).

    Source: http://www.answers.com/topic/whodunit
     
  4. elianecanspeak Senior Member

    by Lake Michigan
    English - EEUU
    "She done it. I saw her when she done it" is a grammatical convention in a non-standard dialect, and for that reason is considered incorrect in standard English. All the westerns in the 50s had the pioneers and cowboys speak this way.

    It has also been a non-standard dialect in British English : "Them that done her in would have done her in for a hatpin, let alone a hat" (My Fair Lady).

    "He done her wrong" was a standard catch phrase that was used in the blues classic "Frankie and Johnny"; is the title of a contemporary graphic novel; it was reversed to "She Done Him Wrong" as the title of a Mae West - Cary Grant film in the thirties.
     
  5. TheNovice Junior Member

    Jambi Indonesia
    Indonesian
    Thank you very much for all your answers to my question. And thanks to Swisspete for the link. it helps.
     

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