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Let's say that a person Jane does something funny, like repeatedly forgetting her laptop in the bus. How would you make fun of John if he forgets his laptop on the bus.

I'm looking for something along the lines:

  • "John, make sure you don't pull a Jane."
  • "Did you just do a Jane?"
  • "Don't Jane yourself?"
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    Assuming that you've simply mixed up John and Jane in your question, the first two both sound perfectly fine to me, and are common usage. I don't think I (as a British-English speaker) have ever heard the third one, but in certain contexts I am sure that people would understand what you mean. As a joke, this is by definition colloquial in register, so the 'validity' depends on your region, dialect, and even your group of friends. Feb 12, 2021 at 12:00
  • We do sometimes use people's names as verbs, but it doesn't always mean "to do as (person) did" and has to be understood from context. For example, Robert Bork was a nominee for the US Supreme Court, whose nomination was defeated in a vicious political fight, and now "to bork" means "to attack or defeat a candidate by harsh criticism".
    – stangdon
    Feb 12, 2021 at 16:30
  • Yes, I mixed the names up. Fixed now! Feb 13, 2021 at 12:19
  • The pronouns were still a bit confused (Jane is far more common as a girl's name) I hope my edit matches what you mean
    – James K
    Feb 13, 2021 at 12:24

2 Answers 2

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Have you not mixed things and used Jane instead of John in your examples? I would make fun of Jane when she does hilarious things John usually does. So I would say

There goes Jane in her John mode again!

or

Oh, Jane, not that John thing again!!

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These are possible, but very colloquial and depends on a lot of shared understanding between the speakers. If, over the past months and years, you had built up a shared understanding that "Jane is often forgetful" and that this is one of her main characteristics. If both you and John know this. Then you can perhaps say "pull a Jane" or "do a Jane". You are using "Jane" as a metonym of "forgetful person".

Use with caution, as this kind of language is quite insulting and perhaps bullying towards Jane.

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