English translation: it would be embarrassing or inconvenient
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Thank you all for your comments. This question was asked in a English/Turkish Kudoz entry, and my answer was indeed "would not be convenient". However, the asker chose another answer which meant "to be useful, beneficial". I just wanted to make sure that he chose the correct answer. Many thanks again. http://www.proz.com/kudoz/english_to_turkish/history/4130186...
"... It wasn't the lack of a leg that finally did for him, but advancing years and failing health. His over-active thyroid and high blood ..."
The comments on this question demonstrate why it is so hard for non-native speakers to master idiomatic English. Such minor variations in phrasing, using some of the most common words in the language, cause such major changes of meaning.
It will do = it is adequate
It won't do = it is not acceptable
It wouldn't do = it would be inappropriate/inconvenient/embarrassing
It did for (somebody) = it finished them off/killed them/destroyed their career
She did for (somebody) = as above or (archaic) she cleaned their house
It will do for now = It will be adequate as a temporary measure ...
Just been browsing in my DCE and recall that the positive "it will do" either means "It will be enough" (We haven't got a lot of wine for the party, but it should do) or "it will be acceptable" ( I can't find my black shoes, so the brown ones will have to do). "Just a sandwich will do (me) for lunch."
But "it won't do" usually means it isn't acceptable, not that it isn't enough. I agree with Jenni's Victorian grandmother ( I had one of those, too i.e. she was born under Queen Victoria) that there is an element of bad or unfitting, unseemly behaviour involved.
Speak for yourself, baby! (Well, OK, I'm beginning to get up there....) I'm quite familiar with "now we're really done for," but not "that's done for it"--I think the latter is UK English. And when I've heard/used "Now I'm done for!" it hasn't had the specific meaning of "killed," just a general sense of "I'm going to meet my doom, be punished, suffer unpleasant consequences."
No wonder I can't master idioms with prepositions in Spanish! It's even more complicated in English.
Heard from my truly Victorian Grandmother, which also highlights my age! The "for" always seemed to me to refer more to what followed than what preceded "not do": It would not do for him to come today, or for him to reply in that way, etc., similar to the way that people express disapproval of someone's behavior by saying "It's just not done" instead of "Nobody does that". That I remember in the States to kill someone was "to do him in".
Oops! I think we're both showing our age a bit here ;-) 'to do for', indeed used to be used in the sense of domestic service; but I think it is more than obsolescent, it really went out of fashion donkey's years ago — and cf. that wonderful radio line from WWII: "Can I do you now, Sir?"
However, 'to do for" certianly always has had (AFAIK) and still does have the meaning of 'to finish off', and by extension, 'to kill' — look at the expression: "that's done for it!" or "now we're really done for!"
It's true that 'to do in' is perhaps more common in the context of 'kill'.
I agree about the glossary entry. In fact, I think I would use "would not do" as the term, without "for." However, I'm not familiar with "to do for" with the meaning of "to kill." "To do IN" means to kill, but AFAIK, "to do for" usually means "to clean one's house," as in, "Mrs. Brown goes in twice a week and does for elderly Widow Smith." That usage is probably more common in UK English, and I think it's obsolescent.