The ‘with’ is silent

Alternate title: where’s the with?

I’m frequently asked about the differences between Canadians and Americans. And I usually answer something to the effect of ‘I’m not sure’ or ‘I haven’t really noticed anything.’ Because aside from their fondness for hockey, and the talk about ‘toques’, and using ‘eh’ (hey, really) like a question mark, I haven’t really noticed many differences.

But the professor finally drew my attention to one (glaring) omission that I completely missed: the absence of ‘with’.

It started with the Gort talking about school. He would say things like ‘I’m done my homework,’ or ‘I’m done my agenda’, and his father would be all ‘have you noticed the kid doesn’t say with‘. And I hadn’t, not until he’d pointed it out.

I guess I don’t pick up on omissions. (It’s sort of like those ‘what’s missing’ photo comparisons in People magazines. Put an American beside a Canadian and figure out what’s not there.)

I started paying closer attention. Sure enough, the Gort left out ‘with’ all the time. Despite his father’s best attempts at correcting him  by reminding ‘we say WITH’ as often as possible. And then the Hen started saying it too. Or not saying it, as the case might be. ‘I’m done my dinner!’

Weary of ‘labels’, I wondered if it was maybe just a ‘school-kid’ thing. And then I heard it from adults: ‘I’m done my Christmas cards!’ So now, for fear of making sweeping generalizations, I’m willing to concede that – maybe – Calgarian-Albertans are prone to leaving out the ‘with’.

It’s too bad none of the blog’s ten readers hail from Toronto. That could settle the matter.

4 thoughts on “The ‘with’ is silent

  1. I know this won’t settle the missing ‘with’s, but I have noticed people from the northern states seem to add extra ‘with’s. “Are you coming with?” “Did you bring it with?” Or more correctly, they are omitting the objects of the preposition. Either way, it drives me crazy.

    I wonder if it is that Albertans are leaving out the ‘with’, or if it is that they are saying “I’m” when they should be saying “I’ve”. I’ve done my Christmas cards. But that does not work with I’ve done my dinner. So maybe not.

    I remember in the early 90s in Muncie, I heard friends leave out the infinitives of verbs (not sure I’m saying that correctly). Instead of saying ‘This needs to be fixed” it was simply “this needs fixed”, as opposed to “this needs fixing” (which is probably still wrong but sounds less so). That ranks right up there with “that might could be the answer” – a phrase beloved by folks from the piney woods region of Texas, as best I reckon. Not just might, not just could, but might could. Sort of like a chance of a possibility?

    I’ll take mangled sentence structure for $300, Alex.

  2. You should also talk to individuals from Montana to make sure it isn’t a regional thing. I remember one distinctive midwest thing was to add extra rs in words like “I’ll warsh the dishes you dry”

  3. Diana – I had coffee with a friend who brought up the missing infinitive. ‘This needs ironed’, etc. Kim, YES, the extra ‘r’ is crazy….’warshed’, indeed. I did ask a Calgary-friend about the missing with before I posted it and she agreed it was true, though she said she’d never thought about it or that the ‘with’ should be included.


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