"To come handy" vs. "To come in handy"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Gustavoang, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. Gustavoang Senior Member

    Venezuela / Castilian

    What's the difference between to come handy and to come in handy?

    To come in handy has noticeably more matches than to come handy in a search-engine... Is the former the right one?

  2. maxiogee Banned

    I think that "it comes handy to him" would mean that he has a certain facility in field of endeavour. He is someone who finds "it" easy to do.

  3. Hi Gustavoang,

    "To come in handy" is correct.

    I haven't heard "to come handy".

  4. Gustavoang Senior Member

    Venezuela / Castilian
  5. Hi Gustavo,

    I think that the sites with "come handy" show that the "in" has been deliberately left out. This may be a non BE/AE usage. Aust/E appears to use it.

  6. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English
    Hello Gustavoang,

    I got over 159,000 google hits for "come handy," but, flipping through the pages, most of them (I'm tempted to say almost all) were English as spoken in India or Australia OR they were written by non-native English speakers.

    I think you'd better stick with "come in handy." :)

  7. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    Stone the bloody crows and starve the flamin' lizards Joelline! You're not saying that Australians don't know how to speak English, are you? :D

    I decided to add "university" to that Google search out of interest, and found many of them using the expression "come handy" and "comes handy". This is one of them from Georgia State University. It's on Page 45. Link
    This is another from Harvard University on page 5. Link

    P.S. And don't tell me that one of them was an Indian living in Georgia and the other was an Australian working at Harvard University. :D
  8. Joelline

    Joelline Senior Member

    USA (W. Pennsylvania)
    American English

    Don't get aggro; I'm no Alf! Nor am I from the Back of Beyond! :)

    Of course I would never say such a thing!

    Seriously, I was going to suggest that Australians might be using an older, more classic form of handy (one used by Chaucer in Middle English), hende, meaning "ready to hand." But since I can't prove this idea, I decided to omit it.

    And of course I'm not going to say that "one of them was an Indian living in Georgia and the other was an Australian working at Harvard University."

    I'm going to say that the Indian was at Harvard and the Aussie was in Georgia! :D

  9. Gustavoang Senior Member

    Venezuela / Castilian

    Then, "to come handy" is more used in Australia, so It's correct as well, but It might sound weird in BE/AE. This really makes sense to me, because one of the reasons for which I had this doubt was due to I often read web-development articles from an Australian web site and indeed they use that expresion.

    Thank you all for helping me out!

  10. Snowman75

    Snowman75 Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia (English)
    I'm also Australian and have never heard "to come handy".

    Here are some Google numbers:

    "come handy" : 141,000
    "come in handy" : 5,500,000
    "come handy site:au" : 426
    "come in handy site:au" : 45,200

    So that's about 1% of Australians and 2.5% of everyone else using "come handy". Definitely not more common in Australia.

    I think we can pretty confidently label "to come handy" as wrong.
  11. Sam Zhou New Member

    Chinese, mainland China
    10 years later: Mark Twain, Adam's Diary, "in the old days they were tough, but now they come handy".
  12. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I'm British and I've never heard "to come handy".

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