Do the needful
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"Do the needful" is an expression which means "do that which is necessary", with the respectful implication that the other party is trusted to understand what needs doing without being given detailed instruction. The phrase is common in Indian English; its direct translation in Hindi is आवश्यक avashyak and in Urdu is ضروری zarurī.
There has been recent interest in the phrase especially in the context of globalized technology. British and American English speakers may find the phrase extremely rude because it implies the speaker is addressing the recipient as a subordinate.
The Oxford English Dictionary lists examples of usage from 1709 (Richard Steele in the Tatler), 1771 (Samuel Foote in Maid of Bath), 1821 (Maria Edgeworth in a letter), 1831 (Walter Scott in his journal), 1929 (I. Colvin in his Life of Dyer), and 1992 (Jeff Torrington in Swing Hammer Swing!), the last likely used humorously.
- Daniel DMello (2011-06-13). "How to fix grammatically insane phrases found in common Indian English". Retrieved 2014-04-22.
- Oxford English Dictionary, Draft Revision, December 2008: "needful" (adj. and n.)
- The New York Times lists many examples of contemporary literal usage from its own pages mainly between 1860 and 1930
- "I find "do the needful" rude, how do I politely inform an Indian English speaker that uses it?". 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2015-05-20.
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