Question about English speaking

  VNAM75 21:04 20 Jul 2010
Locked

When people say "what can I do you for?" (what can I do for you?) and "your welcome" (you are welcome), is it lazy english or a play on words?

  wiz-king 21:16 20 Jul 2010

The first one was a catch phrase from a war-time radio program - English translation:"What can I do for you?"
Explanation:
As far as I know, this is a just funny play on the words "What can I do for you?". When I was a child (way back in the Dark Ages), the clerk at the shop at the corner used to say to me "And what can I do YOU for? (with a wink and a smile) when it was my turn to be served.
The second is just lazy English originated by our American cousins.

  rickf 21:21 20 Jul 2010

Speaking of correct English that should be "you're welcome" not "your welcome"
You are and your are two different words with different meanings

  VNAM75 21:30 20 Jul 2010

I didn't know the first one was a phrase from olden times - I'd thought it was evolved informal english, not that I'll ever speak like that. I'd guessed "your welcome" was just laziness. I'm sure I've seen "your" being used in place of "you are or you're" in normal writing such as on news sites.

  acein1 21:35 20 Jul 2010

you guys just got to get out more

  wee eddie 21:59 20 Jul 2010

We are out and about and our minds are constantly alert to the quirks of the English Language. Seeking elucidation wheresoever we go!

"What can I do you for" + "Sir" or "Madam" was a jocular expression used primarily by Shopkeepers and meaning "What can I get you" with the inference that he was going to make a small profit out of you.

  john bunyan 22:40 20 Jul 2010

Are you thinking of Mrs Mopp's phrase in ITMA on wartime radio on entering bosses office: "Can I do you now, Sir?".

  Forum Editor 22:52 20 Jul 2010

isn't lazy English, it's English.

We've discussed this subject many times before, and said much the same thing - our language is constantly evolving as society, and its use of language, changes.

If someone from the 16th century was posting in our forum it would be pretty difficult to work out what was being said - we would both have problems, yet both of us would say we were speaking English.

If you see someone writing 'your' instead of you're they aren't being lazy, they are making a mistake. Many people don't understand the use of 'you're' and 'they're; - they write 'their' or even 'there' when what they mean is 'they are'.

  bri-an 08:57 21 Jul 2010

Apologies if I'm not quite clear on all this, but...

This thread was about 'SPEAKING' English, I thought.
How on earth can one accurately discern whether an apostrophe is in the correct place in speech??

Will now return to an exciting session of watching paint dry. (:-0)

  Quickbeam 09:19 21 Jul 2010

It's something that you just pick up by living in an English speaking country from birth.

My Italian brother in law speaks very good English without an Italian accent, but every now and then slips like making a picture instead of taking a picture with a camera or manufacturing the bed instead of making the bed give him away as a non-native English speaker.

  rickf 11:05 21 Jul 2010

Thanks Forum Editor. This mistake particularly grates with me, "your" instead of "you're" Shame that people can't use language properly anymore. There is a general decline in written English. I teach at MSc level and am shocked to discover so many graduates cannot write properly constructed English.

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