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Do you ever use this English word?
Old 08-26-2014, 09:47 AM   #1
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Do you ever use this English word?

While everyone is holding the breadth watching S&P 500 making new highs, I have a question regarding to this word I hear so often from our Offshore developer:

needful

as in, "Please do the needful".

I am not a native speaker of English. I have never heard anyone is US using this word, though I have only lived in US for 30 years.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:54 AM   #2
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Other online resources give similar descriptions.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_the_needful

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Old 08-26-2014, 09:56 AM   #3
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Lifelong US resident and have only heard that expression from colleagues in India or those from India.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:57 AM   #4
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Nope. I've never personally used or heard it AFAICR.

Wikipedia says it's mainly used in India.

Do the needful - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

EDIT: guess I'm slower than some at writing posts...
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:23 AM   #5
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It's a new world. Many of my colleagues are from India. Most of them learned a while ago not to use that expression because it perplexes many US workers.

Yet we still end up swapping colloquialisms and speech patterns, and that's OK! I noticed a lot of them are starting to use "you guys". We joke around a lot with the word "football", just to poke each other. Meanwhile, I find myself using the word "hence" more than I ever did.

I find that Indian English rubs off on me easier than British English.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:26 AM   #6
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Lifelong US resident and have only heard that expression from colleagues in India or those from India.

+1

I was managing local and offshore teams, and my local devs were getting VERY annoyed at this phrase, because it sounded to them like the offshore devs were "telling them what to do".

After looking it up, we learned that in India it is considered a respectful way of asking someone to proceed.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:31 AM   #7
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Steven King book and movie "Needful Things"
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:39 AM   #8
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At least they aren't asking you to do the nasty!
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:23 AM   #9
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I'm familiar with the word though I seldom see it used. "Needy" is more common.
But the example given makes it sound like it's being used as a synonym for "necessary". Is that the way it's used in Indian English?
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:35 AM   #10
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Language is one of those interesting things we take for granted but can cause so much confusion.

The first time I was in the US South, I bought some gas. This was the old days when they ran the card through an imprint device!! The young gal asked me for my 'taaahhhg numbah' in a very thick southern accent. I was totally confused. What tag was she talking about? The one on my shirt? Or was this an assertive Southern girl's way of flirting and asking for my phone number? Finally, it hit me. She wanted the car's license number. :-(

A while back I heard that in Canada when something at a meeting is 'tabled' that means it's brought to the fore front for discussion. The exact opposite of what 'tabled' means in the USA. Right or wrong?
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Old 08-26-2014, 11:45 AM   #11
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A while back I heard that in Canada when something at a meeting is 'tabled' that means it's brought to the fore front for discussion. The exact opposite of what 'tabled' means in the USA. Right or wrong?
Yes it can mean brought forward. However it can also be left on the table for future discussion same as in the US.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:09 PM   #12
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...have only heard that expression from colleagues in India or those from India.
Same here. And propone and updation.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:24 PM   #13
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i use it occasionally.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:40 PM   #14
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Have only heard that from callers from India.
... and from those, only a few. Tends to be the ones that have had less interaction with the US.
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:58 PM   #15
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Dunno. Down here in the South we just say "Git er done!"
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Old 08-26-2014, 12:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
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The first time I was in the US South, I bought some gas. This was the old days when they ran the card through an imprint device!! The young gal asked me for my 'taaahhhg numbah' in a very thick southern accent. I was totally confused.
On one of my first trips to the south, I was listening to the radio and they said Cow Patty had come in third in some race. I wondered why they announced which horse came third for just one race when there were probably a bunch of races at the track that day.

When I got to my friend's house, I asked about that weird news report. He clarified it for me. Kyle Petty came in third. And we were near his hometown, which is why they always report where he finished. I laughed until I cried.
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Old 08-26-2014, 01:31 PM   #17
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"Do the needful".

A Saudi in Riyadh said it to a friend of mine....he found it amusing enough to relate it to me.
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Old 08-26-2014, 01:35 PM   #18
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At first, it was mostly the offshore teams but I noticed, before I retired, that many of the onshore people were using it too.
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Old 08-26-2014, 02:35 PM   #19
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Has anyone heard the expressions "this day morning" and "today morning" to convey "this morning"? I heard this a lot from Middle Eastern and Indian colleagues. I thought it was charming.
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Old 08-26-2014, 03:08 PM   #20
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I was in a store in Durban and a South African couple said to the clerk "We'll be back right now"........I thought "No, you're here right now".......turns out they meant "We'll be back shortly".
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