gasp you should

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-- But I need your help, Pam, because I'm... um, conducting a mole hunt.
-- Aah. [gasps in shock]
-- Gasp you should... because if you let me in the mainframe, I'll drop these doughnuts. Then (.........)
Archer, TV series

That means: "You have just gasped and it was the right thing to do on hearing such a shocking piece of news."
And it's an inversion -- "You should gasp."

If it's right, then if he'd said "You should gasp.", would that be idiomatic too?

  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Yes, it's an inversion - and yes, it would also have worked if he'd said "You *should* gasp".:)


    English - US, Canada
    It's actually a reference to the way Yiddish-speaking Jews would phrase it:

    English: You should gasp!

    Yiddish: Gasp ir zol! (Gasp you should!)

    The unique nature of Jewish word-order and emphasis is a rich part of our language's humour history.

    Humour has always been a big part of Jewish culture. (When you're persecuted that often, sometimes being able to laugh about it makes it easier to endure.) Many great vaudeville comedians were Jewish immigrants whose way of speaking English delighted audiences. And many of the great stand-up comics of the 20th century were of Jewish descent, carrying the tradition forward in subtle ways. The Jewish outlook is part of the fabric of American life.

    I don't think the Archie character is Jewish, but sometimes it can be even funnier for a non-Jew to say something in a Jewish way. I think that's what the writers were going for.
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