Possible Duplicate:
I'm done or I've done

When the class is over, our lecturer always says "OK, we're done." Is this sentence grammatically correct? Isn't it a passive form, which simply means we are done by sth./somebody? Can we use "we've done" instead in this case?

  • 1
    We've done is the indicative past perfect of We do. Used in this way it must be transitive, so you can say, We've done it!, which indicates you achieved something more extraordinary than making it all the way through a single lecture. Anyway, We did it! is more common than We've done it!. Save it for when you graduate.
    – kojiro
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 20:38
  • I am not sure that this question is actually a duplicate. In the other question, the sense was that a task had been completed; whereas in this question, the sense is that the doers will do no more (which may or may not be because the task has been completed). In the other question, you could say that the construction "we're done" were awkward and American; but, in this question, that's less clear, isn't it? You might consider unmarking this one as a duplicate.
    – thb
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 19:37

4 Answers 4


Yes. Done here means finished and has been used with this meaning since the 14th century, and no one batted an eyelid till 1917. It has been used by Dickens and Mark Twain amongst others, not to mention in the proverb:

Man's work lasts till set of sun, woman's work is never done.

See MWDEU - http://books.google.com/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&pg=PA361

  • Should have shown the grammatical parsing for completeness. Perhaps you could edit your answer suitably. Also, gives an impression that it is somehow incorrect. What happened in 1917?!
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 28, 2011 at 6:10
  • 1
    Hey, I'm just a humble EFL teacher; I don't 'do' parsing. But I did miss the bit about it not being passive. In any case, Barrie England and Irene have filled in all the details, so there's not much point in me adding anything now. As for 1917, it's all in the MWDEU link. OK, I'm done now. Commented Dec 28, 2011 at 9:11
  • Hope you up voted both of them, then. :)
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 28, 2011 at 11:29
  • Have done now. Thanks for the reminder; I'm still new at this game. :) Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 21:16
  • Something got missed out there. You probably had a point: perhaps the 1917 reference was left in the air somewhat, and maybe I should have added a bit more detail. However, in my experience with foreign learners, if you tell them what something means, they usually get the idea pretty quickly. What they don't generally want are lengthy grammatical explanations; that's the best way to turn them off. :) Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 21:26

Done here isn't treated as a verb, but as an adjective. According to OALD:

done (adjective)

1 finished; completed

When you're done, perhaps I can say something.


Yes, it is grammatical, no, it isn’t passive and no, you can’t say *We've done instead. Done is an adjective meaning finished and the sentence is on the pattern Subject (We) – Verb (‘re) – Complement (done). (An alternative reading is to see the verb to be done as meaning to have done, to have finished, even though *We've done is not actually possible in the context you describe.)


The 're part is in place of the verb are (Which is the conjugated form for we of the verb to be), and we is the subject; done is an adjective meaning "complete, or "finished." So this statement is grammatically correct. We've done has a completely different meaning. The 've part is a conjunction of the verb to have and we. We've done is to say we have done, and we're done is the same as we are done. In this case it would only make sense to say we are done, so the professor is correct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.