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‘Been’ is not a Filler Word.

“Well, ma’am, did she just book it or did she been booked it?”

I promise you, I had no idea what those words even meant. I was standing at the hotel counter, trying to obtain access to the hotel room Ashley had reserved online for this quick trip. The girl behind the counter could not seem to find my reservation, and that was her question in response.

I looked at her quizzically. “I’m… sorry?”

“Did she just book it, or did she been booked it?”

Apparently, in some cultures and vernaculars, the word ‘been’ is something you can toss into any sentence to convey the passage of time and extended past tense.

Like, just anywhere. I could have said, “Oh, she been booked it a coupl’a weeks ago.” And that would have been a completely fluent answer.

Instead, I found myself saying, yet again, “I’m…. sorry?”

Tricia Lott Williford

Comments are closed

  1. That’s why saying “cool beans” makes no sense to me at all. Been or bean? What does it all mean?

  2. Very, very funny…..I’m thinking we should all come up with good “wisecrack” that would have fit at that moment….I can just see your face:)

  3. When I was teaching full time we had to have a serious class discussion that while using your voice is important in writing, sentences like, ‘I was playing with my friends and I been like ‘that ain’t right,’ and she been like ‘girl you been crazy!'” are not at all acceptable. True story. It was an interesting population.

  4. Sad and crazy but true. Just wonder if she graduated from high school.

  5. One of my favorites (not really) is, “Can I help who’s next?” Are they omitting a punctuation mark between two sentences to save time? “Can I help? Who’s next?” Slow down, please! One question at a time!

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