Walking past a bank the other day I noticed a sign that said
We do loans.
I’ve known for some time that some people “do lunch,” but I missed the transition from “making loans” to “doing loans.”
This usage of all-purpose “do” in a multitude of expressions is nothing new in English.
Ask Bessie to do the flowers for church.
Mr. Ping does our garden.
The stable boys do the horses.
When is the painter going to do this room?
I plan to do the room in red and gold.
“I can do you now, Sir,” said the barber.
Even the word “do-able” which sounds so modern and breezy to my ear has been around since 1449.
c1449 PECOCK Repr. I. vii. 37 A lawe..which is doable and not oonli knoweable. (OED)
No doubt about it–“do” is a handy word that serves us well.
Professional writers, however, may want to add “do” to their list of words to cull in a final revision. Hair and flowers may be arranged, gardens tended, and rooms decorated. And banks make loans. (At least, they’re supposed to.)