Examples are provided aplenty, from chef Gordon Ramsay:

Fry. Roast. Drizzle. Done.

Drizzle olive into the sauce circling the fish. Done.

But you also see the term used on buttons in computers and mobile devices - presumably used as a contraction of I'm done or You're done and frequently displayed as an alternative to Close.

But what kind of phrase or grammatical formation would be correct to refer to this usage of the word 'done' as a standalone word. Is it even 'correct' usage, let alone perhaps not even being 'proper' usage?

2 Answers 2


Done is the past participle of do. Used alone, it is an effective use of language in the kind of context you describe, but it would not normally be found in formal writing. If you needed a word to describe this kind of usage, elliptical would be as good as any.

  • So would you class this as an elliptical imperative sentence? Dec 1, 2011 at 10:31
  • @RogerAttrill: No, I wouldn't. 'Fry', 'roast' and 'drizzle' are imperatives, but 'done' isn't. A useful term for any sentence that doesn't contain a finite verb is 'minor sentence'. Dec 1, 2011 at 18:37

Gordon Ramsey is notorious for expressing processes as a list of single words. He probably does it to sound dramatic and liven up the mundanity of most cooking exercises. In this case, "Done." is used in place of "The task is complete."

  • Yes - but I'm specifically asking What type of phrase would you call the single word *Done when used standalone like this. For example would it be classed as an Imperative Sentence? Dec 1, 2011 at 10:30
  • 1
    No. It certainly wouldn't be imperative. In fact, it's not a sentence; it's a sentence fragment, with the rest of whatever sentence it might represent (You're done, I'm done, It's done, etc.) simply not there. So if you want to call it a sentence of any kind, you have to show what the rest of the sentence actually is. Dec 3, 2011 at 21:43

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