Odd use of "they've" or similar

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haumovie
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Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby haumovie » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:12 pm UTC

I have started coming across really odd examples of "they've", "he'd" and similar. At least I find them odd.

Here's an illustration of what I mean:

They've no time left. He'd to do it. She'd no coat on.

Am I the only one to find this odd?

So far, I have only seen this kind of sentence in english translations of chinese or japanese literature, but also spotted one example (forgot exactly where) in a book by Susan Maushart - an american.

Does anyone else here recognise this strange use of it and what is the word for it? Also, why does it work in some cases but not in the above examples?

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tomandlu
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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby tomandlu » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:29 pm UTC

haumovie wrote:They've no time left. He'd to do it. She'd no coat on.


I find "He'd to do it" very odd, but the other two look okay IMHO.
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Derek
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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby Derek » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:22 pm UTC

It's contraction of "have" and "has" (I don't think I've ever seen it for "had", but it might be possible) when they are main verbs (denoting possession or required action), and it bugs the fuck out of me too. I don't think I've ever heard it in real life, but it's common on the internet, so I think it might be a Britishism, but I'm not sure, and I don't think this one has ever been covered on language log :/

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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby Deva » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:37 pm UTC

Reads "he'd" and "she'd" as "he would" and "she would". Makes no sense.

Heard the first example before. Feels off. Usually places a verb directly afterwards.
Changes its form depending on the observer.

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tms
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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby tms » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:01 am UTC

First example is fine, the others are horrid.
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Aiwendil
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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby Aiwendil » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:29 pm UTC

To my ear, the contraction of has/have/had is fine when it's an auxiliary verb (like 'I've finished the book I was reading') or when it's a lexical verb meaning 'to possess' (as in the first and third of your examples), but not when it expresses necessity (as in the second of your examples). But the contraction of the lexical verb is rarely used in my (northeastern U.S.) dialect, so I can easily see finding it odd. Unless I'm quite mistaken, it's a much more common usage in England. But I don't think I've ever seen or heard the contraction with the expression of necessity.

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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:54 am UTC

Aiwendil wrote:But I don't think I've ever seen or heard the contraction with the expression of necessity.
COCA pretty much agrees.
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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby Joeldi » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:01 am UTC

They're archaic constructions is all. The first and third I've been known to say myself, when I'm having fun with language and want to sound a bit like a tosser.

The second I'm not sure of exactly, but it sounds a HECK of a lot like something I've read in older books/letters/etc. Not sure what period exactly... somewhere between Shakespeare and Dickens
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tomandlu
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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby tomandlu » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:23 am UTC

Aiwendil wrote:Unless I'm quite mistaken, it's a much more common usage in England.


I think you might be right - I'm UK and, apart from the second one, these look 'normal' to me (the first more so than the third).
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posentin
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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby posentin » Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:01 pm UTC

im with the "1 and 3 sound ok but not 2" crowd, and that they do vaguely sound/sound vaguely brEng

id wanna utter 1 as "they've got no more time left" though

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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby Derek » Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:46 pm UTC

posentin wrote:id wanna utter 1 as "they've got no more time left" though

That's how I (and most Americans?) would say it. In this case, "got" is the main verb, and "have" is an auxiliary, so "they've" is a valid contraction. When "have" is the main verb, "they've" is not valid (for me).

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Re: Odd use of "they've" or similar

Postby eSOANEM » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:00 pm UTC

I (as a Brit) would rather word that as "they don't have any more time left".
my pronouns are they

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