A drunk man beat the bartender for nothing.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by caireo, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. caireo Senior Member

    Tibetan
    Hi, is it idiomatic to say "A drunk man beat the bartender for nothing." to mean: "A drunk man beat the bartender for no reason."? Thank you.
     
  2. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    California
    English - US
    Yes, in casual speech we use "for nothing" in this way.
     
  3. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    Yes, Caireo, the for nothing part is entirely idiomatic.

    I'm wondering about the drunk man. For some reason we don't say that very often, and I would regard a drunk as being more idiomatic in BE.

    There's a moment in John Ford's film, My Darling Clementine, when Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda) goes up to the bar and says to the barman: "Mac, have you ever been in love?" and gets the reply, "No, I've been a bartender all my life". In BE it would have to be "I've been a barman all my life", so that part of your sentence is AE rather than BE.

    I mention this because a drunken man may be more idiomatic in AE than it is in BE.
     

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