(This would never have happened) "...if somebody would've just did it."

(Just heard on 'Undercover Boss' (US TV))

I know this is 'wrong'. And I realise that it is 'colloquial' (belonging to common speech; characteristic of or proper to ordinary conversation, as distinguished from formal or elevated language (OED)'.

It is not a usage colloquial anywhere in the UK to my knowledge. I'm wondering how widespread (i.e. geographically, socio-economically ...) this is in the US and elsewhere.

I'm absolutely NOT interested in it's 'correctness', only it's usage!

Do you ever say it, or hear it?

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    It's improper. The correct way to say it would be, "...if somebody would've just done it." The verb phrase is "would have done." Saying "did" is using the past tense, but when using the linking verb "have," the past participle "done" should be used--should have been used. Jan 14, 2016 at 12:37
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    This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
    – cobaltduck
    Jan 14, 2016 at 14:35
  • So, @cobaltduck, ... have you ever heard it in the run of an ordinary day?
    – Dan
    Jan 14, 2016 at 14:44
  • My earlier comment was not meant to be serious. But since you asked, I have often heard (and myself used) deliberate improper grammar for irony, humor, or even emphasis. I don't recall ever hearing your particular example.
    – cobaltduck
    Jan 14, 2016 at 14:49
  • @cobaltduck - me too. I reckon it's all of a part of being on this site. The person on the TV show was not being funny or ironic. They were frustrated and this is how it came out. To my ears and eyes they sounded and looked like ordinary citizens ...
    – Dan
    Jan 14, 2016 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


It's colloquial. And wrong.

Come on. Would have done it. Done. Would have ... done it.

Or, in this case, "if only someone had done it."

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    Better but still wrong. If someone had done it. Jan 14, 2016 at 12:52
  • @Ricky - I've edited my question. I just wondered how commonly you hear it. And whether it's only in certain places, or among certain groups...
    – Dan
    Jan 14, 2016 at 12:52
  • @TimLymington: My bad; I should have finished my thought. Too many thoughts at this point. Gotta get some sleep pronto.
    – Ricky
    Jan 14, 2016 at 12:55
  • @Dan Unless you want something more specific, I think Colloquial already covered frequency. It's used by the general public conversationally, out of ignorance. Dictionaries use the word often to imply an oft used meaning is improper, since it fails to make a vital distinction which is important to formal fields but perhaps less-so than utterly careless slang.
    – Tonepoet
    Jan 14, 2016 at 13:29

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