'Take Her Easy' versus 'Take It Easy'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by starchildw, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. starchildw New Member

    French
    I've just finished watching the last episode of Twin Peaks, and the sheriff says to Coop, 'Take her easy now!', and I was wondering why he didn't say 'Take it easy now'. There are many more hits of 'Take it easy now', about 35,600, compared to about 600 for 'Take her easy now' on the Internet, half of which seems to belong to a classic posted on the Web (Open Boat by Stephen Crane). I also found it in The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub (page 38, first page of Chapter 4): 'Say, son, take her easy, take her easy now...'

    To what does the 'her' refer to? Why don't they say 'it'?
     
  2. Waylink Senior Member

    English (British)
    I'm not familiar with the expression "Take her easy now!" but having glanced quickly at the first few google results for it, I see that several are in the context of boats, specifically the steering or control of the boat.

    Boats are often referred to by boat-lovers as feminine in English.

    eg

    We sailed her all the way to Cape Town.
    There was a terrible storm and she (the boat) lost her mast.

    Of course, there may be a different explanation altogether ...
     
  3. icecreamsoldier

    icecreamsoldier Senior Member

    New Zealand English
    As Waylink notes, objects are often affectionately referred to as "she" or "her" - such as cars or boats. In the episode of Twin Peaks however, during the wedding, I don't think there is any such object, so perhaps it's more like the New Zealand use of "she" in place of "it":
    She'll be right -> It'll be alright

    In which case it's a local variation, not standard English, and yes you could replace "her" with "it."
     
  4. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    "Her" is used in many expressions in American English in place of "it" as a colloquialism. The "h" is usually dropped and the "er" is slurred into the previous word.

    "Take 'er easy now."
    "Start 'er up now."
    "Take 'er nice and slow."
    "Back 'er up."

    I don't find the use of it unusual, but it does bring to mind a sort of soft drawl and "country-style" way of talking.
     

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