"here's a nice how-do-you-do"

Q-cumber

Senior Member
....aka "Here's <that's> a nice <pretty> how-d'ye-do!''

Hi!
Here below is a copy of my post in the Slavic Languages "sub forum". I'd like to know your opinions on the subject.
As a matter of fact, I think this expression is pretty idiomatic in English: "here's a nice how-do-you-do".
It might mean: "hmm...now we have a small problem" or "well, look at what has happened now." or "Now what the hell can I do about this?" or something like "Wow! That's good news. Unexpected, but good."

Let the native English speakers correct me, if I am wrong.
What do you think?
 
  • tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Laurel and Hardy wee a comedy team many years ago. Hardy often said to Laurel "This is a fine how-do-you-do you've gotten us into!" He also said "This is a fine mess you've gotten us into!" To me a how-do-you-do is a confusing situation or a spot of trouble. The other suggestions in the post could also work, depending on the situation, but the last one - about unexpected news, is not one I've heard.
     

    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    Hi tepatria!

    Thanks for your reply!

    To all:
    I was suggested another expression with the same meaning: "well, that's a fine how's-your-father!" Are you familiar with it?

    Another question... here is a sample dialogue below:
    - Ann, have you called John yet?
    - Who is John?
    - <That's a nice how-d'ye-do!> Don't you remember anything at all???


    Does the espression fit in here well?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A bit of how's-your-father is a roll in the hay, a sexual interlude.
    The relationship between a how-do-you-do and a bit of how's-your-father is the theme of almost all modern drama. But it would be as well not to confuse the two.
     

    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    Thanks, panjandrum! Could you tell me more about the "That's a nice how-d'ye-do!" expression itself? Is it wide-spread in the UK? I am eager to know your competent opinion.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I've nothing to add, really.
    It's not a very common expression, but would be understood by most BE speakers. It's possible that younger people would be less familiar with it.
    I have never heard it used in relation to unexpected but pleasant news.
    Unexpected but scandalous news, yes.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    panjandrum

    OK, thanks. Does it fit in the context provided above?
    Which context?
    In your original example it's OK, except for the "Wow that's good news" stuff.

    It indicates some kind of a row, or a difficulty, or trouble generally.
    In my part of the world it would be "That's a right how-do-you-do!"

    The more I think about it, the more strange it sounds. Perhaps it's more like something my mother would have said.
     

    Q-cumber

    Senior Member
    Which context?
    I meant the sample dialoque above. Here it is:

    - Ann, have you called John yet?
    - Who is John?
    - <That's a nice how-d'ye-do!> Don't you remember anything at all???
    As a matter of fact, the initial question of mine arised from a discussion on how to interpret such a conversation into English. There was some "hard-to-translate" expression used in the Russian original.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top