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Message de jihaire posté le 24-05-2016 à 07:48:56 (S | E | F)
(First words of the Poem "Inventory" by Dorothy Parker)
Why an infinitive form " be" ?
Thank you for your answers
Have a nice day
Modifié par lucile83 le 24-05-2016 09:37
Réponse: Infinitive/ in Inventory de lucile83, postée le 24-05-2016 à 09:43:13 (S | E)
Be is not an infinitive here, it is the subjunctive form of the verb to be.
You can compare this form with 'God save the Queen', the verb 'save' being a subjunctive.
Here is the link of the poem:
Réponse: Infinitive/ in Inventory de lemagemasque, postée le 24-05-2016 à 18:34:37 (S | E)
Let the thing I... be four.
Subjunctive is not very used nowadays but you can still find it:
- in old sentences
- after patterns like It is important that he be... ( uses should to express it)
- after whether (formal) or if (formal and old-fashioned/dialectal)
- with sentences like be it true or not... (whether it's true or not)
We often use a modal to avoid the use of subjunctive.
NB: "Were" is sometimes called "past subjunctive" or "modal preterite" or "irrealis form"
PS: Wikipedia reminded me that "be" can also be used in some dialectal English (like African dialects in English) in the present.
I be right --> I am right.
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