On my drive home last night, Linda Ronstadt's 1970's hit "You're No Good" was played on the radio. And as I'm listening, it struck me how weird the term "no good" is.
I probably use this term every day, but is this even English? No good? Isn't it really supposed to be "not good"?
Who talks like this? Who puts a no in front of an adjective to express a thought in the negative? And yet it seems everyone I know says no good.
It happens all the time in sports. A missed shot in basketball is called as "no good". A missed field goal is "no good". Isn't it really just no good English.
Why would we describe something in the negative form like this? Why can't announcers just call it what it is- "a miss"? A missed tackle is not a "no tackle". Sorry, I mean a missed tackle is no a "no tackle", right?
A person should not be described as "no good"- he's a bum, a weasel, a jag, or whatever else you want to call him. But not "no good."
Can you imagine what life would be like if we applied this way of talking to everything we do?
"Honey, the food you fixed is no hot."
"That diaper is no clean."
"I work the no night shift."
"The weatherman is calling for a lot of no rain."
It'd be like living at a Tarzan convention. Only he and stereotypical Italian immigrants in B movies talk like this. So the only time a person should use "no good" is if they put an "a" sound on the end of every word.
Is anybody ever "no bad"? Could Linda Ronstadt sing a song like "You're No Bad, You're No Bad, You're No Bad, Baby You're No Bad?" I doubt it.
This whole mess is just no good.