the boy done good

nadanada76

Senior Member
Romania Romanian
Hello,

Could anyone explain to me what that means?
"The boy done good hates being reminded that he was wrong"
Thank you all.
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I'm afraid it's the way it is. Could it be slang?
    No. It sounds like a couple of sentences were misheard or mistyped and were meshed together. "The boy done good" is old-fashioned slang but it means that he did something good. "hates being reminded that he was wrong" doesn't, in any way, logically follow that.
     

    nadanada76

    Senior Member
    Romania Romanian
    There is a logic to it. If a boy got used to being told that he is good, when you tell him that he's wrong/did something bad, he might not like it.
    So "boy done good" means a boy that did something good.
    Thank you, Dimcl.
     

    Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    If someone has done good it means they have turned their life around from a disadvantageous start. Someone for example from a poor background who has gone to university. Or someone who has changed from a life of crime and drugs to having a steady job.
    A person who has become a success does not like to be reminded of the time when he wasn´t. He wants to forget that part of his life and disassociate himself from it.
    It is deliberately used today in its ungrammatical form in BE, sarcastically, as it suggests the boy has done well but only considering his bad home life, a back handed complement. My Mum used to say it sarcastically of some of my university boyfriends that turned up on her doorstep, whenever she disapproved of their background but grudgingly had to admit that they had got to university so were my equals. If she said "He has done well", she approved. If she said "He´s done good" she thought he was still uneducated!
    Hope that helps a bit.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Lis48 has pointed out one sense of "done good". In certain AmE dialects, "done good" can also mean "behaved well".

    What we need is context. Where is this boy? What has he done? Could you give us a sentence or two before and after this one?
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Because nadanada has yet to give us context or the most basic background, we are limited to guesses. These may be wrong.

    "The boy done good hates being reminded that he was wrong"

    My guess is that this is recorded dialogue, and it's missing punctuation or a sign of a pause between good and hates. Hence: The boy done good... [he] hates being reminded...

    The boy done good may mean that-

    1) he has (Thanks Lis48) progressed in life;
    2) he has performed some task well
    3) he has succeeded at something

    Other meanings are possible.
     

    nadanada76

    Senior Member
    Romania Romanian
    Thank you cuchuflete, Cagey and Lis48 for your answers.
    Well the idea is that there is this man who used to be a streetfighter but who has suceeded in life. However he hates being told that he is wrong, he can`t stand criticism. So you could be right, it could mean that the boy who succeeded in life cannot stand being told that he is wrong.
    Thank you all.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I don't think there is anything missing from the sentence, or indeed anything odd about it.

    "The boy done good," is a very familiar cliché.
    It is sufficiently well-worn for "boy-done-good" to be acceptable as a noun phrase.

    Read on from there :)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Of course, when I say "acceptable" I mean comprehensible to most people around here.
    I would use these expressions myself, but only with a conspiratorial grin.

    ....
    Yes, I agree with nadanada's explanation - spot on, with a minor modification.
    He didn't have to have been a streetfighter but there is a very strong suggestion that he overcame very significant obstacles to get where he is now.
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Is it possible that there was a pause in speech between "the boy done good" and "hates being reminded that he was wrong"? In that case, I would see it as follows:

    "The boy done good. (He) hates being reminded that he was wrong."

    It is not terribly uncommon for subject ellipsis to occur in very casual English conversation.
     

    nadanada76

    Senior Member
    Romania Romanian
    Well, the way I see it "the boy done good" is more or less a "noun", it refers to the person who is like that, "the one who is successful now"-that is he hates being reminded..... So there is no ellipsis but a strange, complex, refering to a complex reality noun.
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Well, the way I see it "the boy done good" is more or less a "noun", it refers to the person who is like that, "the one who is successful now"-that is he hates being reminded..... So there is no ellipsis but a strange, complex, refering to a complex reality noun.
    In other words, you're reading it as "the boy who done good."

    Omission of the relative pronoun "who" is essentially unheard of in modern American English, I think.

    I have seen it in older poetry, e.g. "'Tis thou maun bring her hame."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    In other words, you're reading it as "the boy who done good."

    Omission of the relative pronoun "who" is essentially unheard of in modern American English, I think.

    I have seen it in older poetry, e.g. "'Tis thou maun bring her hame."
    I hadn't thought of it as omission of "who", simply as a direct quote from the cliché.
     
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