"Goes" vs. "Says"

This question stems from my own name here on the Dope. Is it even remotely acceptable to use the word “goes” in place of “says?” For example

Henry: I told dear Liza there was a hole in my bucket and she goes “Well fix it
dear Henry”

As opposed to …She says “well fix it dear Henry.”

When toning down my grammar in casual conversation I sometimes throw out the word “goes” but never during serious or professional conversations.

Is saying “goes” strictly slang or has it been accepted due to rampant use in American English culture?

I think you’re on the right track. “Goes,” as a synonym for “says” is, indeed, informal. Imagine two corporate suits discussing a recent business meeting: "So, I go, ‘let’s issue the two percent debentures,’ and he goes, “If we have to amortize them over the time, we can’t,’ and I go, 'well, in that case…” It grates. It’s a style more suited to 19 year olds in informal conversation. An exception to that might be in the infantile formulation, “The cow goes moo.” (You should be familiar with that one.) Again, hardly a formal usage.
Casual usage might become formal usage in time, but for now, keep the distinction. p.s., I’m sayin- the same goes for “like,” as in, “I’m like ‘go ahead, make my day,’ and he’s like, ‘I don’t think I will.’” etc.
Stepping down now…

xo, C.

I’m in full agreement with the usage of “like.” It grinds me to no end. I cringe if I ever catch myself using it on the rarest of occassions. Just like the “goes” thing. I try not to use it but damn, if it doesn’t slip out once in a while.

Ooh! Ooh! Another one that makes my ears bleed is hearing people say things such as “more better” AAAUGH!

So I says to Mabel, I says…

"I told dear Liza there was a hole in my bucket and she’s all ‘We’ll fix it’ "

“I to’ dat Liza I says woman, dat bucket done likme gone get a ho’ in it and she all like saying well Henry you all best just fix it den, and I goes like no baby, you gone fix it, den off I go”

So I says to Liza “there’s a hole in my bucket” and she turns around and goes “well mend it then” and I’m all like “with what” and she turns around and goes “with straw” and I turn around and say "

I think ‘said’ would be the most grammatically correct word to use there, with your past-tense hole-in-a-bucket. I would use said, says, goes, and all in order of ‘correctness’. ‘Said’ to me implies you’re near-quoting someone. I would say “She said 'Get out of my way or I’m knocking you in to the frozen peas with my shopping cart!” to a cop, whereas if I was telling a friend later it would sound more like “She was all 'Blaa! Outta my way!!”.

If I was speaking to a new client I’d use ‘said’.

So I’m talking ti Liza, and I’m all like “there’s a hole in my bucket” and she turns around and goes “well mend it then” and I’m all like “with what” and she turns around and she’s all like “with straw” and I turn around and say “the straw’s too dry” and she’s like “well wet it then”

Januaray 20, 2005. George W. Bush’s second inaugural address (slightly revised)

America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have gone that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. . .

Today, America goes anew to the peoples of the world:

Today, I also go anew to my fellow citizens:

When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness went, “It rang as if it meant something.”

My daughters don’t even know the word ‘say’.

It’s “She goes, ‘Where are you going?’, and I go ‘I’m going’”.

To me, it’s grating and sloppy. But I understand that language is a fluid thing, made up as we please. So rather than lecture like a schoolmarm, I claim the right to coin my own phrases. . . such as

"So I gacked, “Where are you going?” and she gacks, “Duh, where does it look like?’”

You can gack whatever you like about the phrase, but I gack it’s perfectly fine.

BTW: Back in high school, which was when you could still strike matches on the FRONT of the matchbook, my friends and I had a contest to see who could get a brand-new made-up word into general usage the fastest. I chose the word ‘foodle’, which I declared to mean ‘to feel up’. Another friend came up with ‘crunt’, defined as an unhygienic female. Our third friend, the two-digit SAT guy, came up with ‘stink rod’ which meant stool sample, math teacher, an Oldsmobile, or anything else you didn’t like. Within three days, ‘stink rod’ was lingua franca in my high school. Duh.

Some may think this story is made up, but I assure you, it’s apocryphal.

kunilou : I’m pretty sure that even in the U.S., George W. Bush isn’t looked to as an authority on grammar. :wink:

What followed those? Are you sure it wasn’t go as in “goes/go to and say/request/etc.”?

Ahem. As I noted, the speech was slightly revised This is an example of using something in an inappropriate context to highlight absurdity.

Rest assured, Mr. Bush’s speechwriters followed the grammar and style rules of formal English for the speech.

And he says to me, he says to me, you got Style, baby! but if you’re gonna to be a real villain you gotta get a gimmick…and so I go I says Yeah Baby! A gimmick, that’s it! High Explosives! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!!!

“Pop” says the Weasle??

It’s definitely informal register. I seem to remember a piece by Geoffrey Nunberg on NPR talking about how the difference was that you used “goes” when imitating the speaker or re-enacting the scene, and “says” for a straightforward reporting of what the person said.

Yep, “like” and “is all” took the place of “goes” in the last decade or so. So, I’m like, “What’s up with that?”, and she’s all “Whatever”. :rolleyes:

Nineteen-year-olds? My daughter got over her “goes” phase when she was 14.

I didn’t see a :wink: after that, but I assume you know the weasel isn’t actually saying “pop”; it’s just making that noise.

I heard that a “weasel” is a term for one of a cobbler’s tool as is “monkey”, and that “pop” was slang for pawn so “pop goes the weasel” means that the cobbler pawned this tool. I suppose this was because the supplies are so expensive “penny for a spool of thread, penny for a needle, that’s the way the money goes …”