In Northern Ireland people will say 'He went to Bohemia on holiday, so he did', or 'I need to do some shopping, so I do'. Is this correct English?


Yes, of course it is, but it's not normally found outside Ireland.

  • @ Barrie England. Does that mean that any English dialect forms can be regarded as correct English? I could try a few Norfolk ones on you if you like! There used to be something called a Northern British Standard. My grandson, who is a Mancunian for example, will say 'It is very warm inside, is our house.' The Standard Queen's English would be 'Our house is very warm inside'. Do we recognise dialect forms as having equal parity. Now, do be careful, or I'll give you a few of those Norfolk ones! – WS2 Oct 13 '13 at 13:44
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    WS2: rhetorical questions are rhetorical, and nonsensical questions are nonsensical. Do you have a point? – RegDwigнt Oct 13 '13 at 13:46
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    @RegDwight. And insults are insults. What's your problem? – WS2 Oct 13 '13 at 14:31
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    WS2 Define "correct English". – TrevorD Oct 13 '13 at 14:34
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    WS2 Please do not answer every comment as if I'm disagreeing with you. I'm not! But you asked "Is this correct English?"; Barry answered "Yes"; and you disagreed. It's therefore not inappropriate to ask whether you are both using the term in the same way - and it seems that you are not. Perhaps the term 'standard English' would be better? OTOH, if your definition relies on British exams, I don't know whether the use of Americanisms & N.Am spellings would be accepted in UK GCSE & A-levels as 'correct' or 'standard' English. – TrevorD Oct 13 '13 at 15:16

These parentheticals, tacked on to the ends of sentences, have the same pragmatic role as the pragmatic markers (veridical / emphasising / focusing) truly or in truth or the facts of the matter are (which are, however, usually put before the matrix sentence).

As to their grammaticality, it's almost certain that a panel of professors of linguistics would pronounce them 'not ungrammatical'.

As to the advisability of using them, the effect they would produce outside Ireland would be to convince a listener that the speaker was either from Ireland, or affecting an Irish style of speaking. If the latter, this might be considered highly inappropriate.



As an Englishman from the Midlands of England, I certainly regard this as perfectly good English. I find the addition of 'so he did'; 'so I can' etc. at the end of a sentence to be fascinating - not least because of the fluency with which it is done. It must be quite difficult, because one has to instantly recap what one has just said in order to get the right verb/tense etc. Try it yourself - it's not as easy as those from Northern Ireland make it sound.

  • This is more of a comment than an answer. – Chenmunka Aug 12 '15 at 9:08
  • @Chenmunka It's less of a comment than Barrie's answer and that has five upvotes. – Araucaria Jan 17 '16 at 16:58

This question led to some bitter-sweet comments, one was to the point : "Define correct English".

If English has no system of reference, it will progressively evolve like French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian and others : only partially understandable between each other, at least in writing, fairly easy to learn one of them if you already know another one, but no more.

I believe that the only one referential you may rely on is what is called "Oxford English", "BBC English", "Queen's / King's English". And when you speak it, you are understood all over the world, not the reverse.

You can see the damages on "Stack Exchange" itself :

  • I was down-voted a number of times for what I wrote, correct I believe in London, but not in the States, for instance the use of present perfect and preterit ;

  • whereas I never reacted, I was horrified by some American-English turns of phrasing which would never been accepted by an English teacher, or an European teacher of English. For instance, I read, from one American member with a very high reputation "never use whom" ; in the UK, mixing up "who" and "whom" would be a sign of deep illiteracy.

To answer the question, I would say "it is not correct English, but perhaps correct Irish, which is a dialect".

However, it is difficult to tell an American that he speaks just a dialect, and moreover an impoverished one (by far less vocabulary as compared with the man-in-the-street in the UK ; they compensate for that by using strong words).

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    This is commentary, rather than an answer to the question. – choster Oct 13 '13 at 15:43
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    @MarkThorin As a native American English speaker, I find your last paragraph mildly offensive. I have no trouble with the assertion that American English is a dialect, but I have a hard time accepting your judgments as anything more than nationalist arrogance. – Lumberjack Oct 13 '13 at 15:44
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    I regret (as a Brit) to have to say I agree with @Lumberjack. I also have to disagree with you in stating that "when you speak [British English], you are understood all over the world." One place where you are often not understood is in the USA - and also to some extent in Canada (as I know because I've just spent 2 weeks in Canada & my brother & family live there). – TrevorD Oct 13 '13 at 16:22
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    You are confusing the level of education of the average "man on the street" and the vocabulary available in a dialect. Whether the average person has a large vocabulary or not does not depend on the dialect but on whether that person has read enough books to develop a rich vocabulary. Also, your point about whom is just plain wrong. If anything, the Americans tend to use it more than the Brits. See, for example, this BBC article that suggests it is not used in conversation in the UK. – terdon Oct 13 '13 at 16:41
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    Few speakers of British English, including this one, use whom other than in the most formal contexts. – Barrie England Oct 13 '13 at 17:51

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