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Thread: be damned

  1. #1
    greenisgood is offline Junior Member
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    Default be damned

    What context can the phrase "be damned" be used?

    I hear it used like this:

    1) Mary made me do something I don't like, Mary be damned.

    2) I'll be damned if he shows up at this party.

  2. #2
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: be damned

    1) Mary made me do something I don't like, Mary be damned.
    This form might possibly be heard in certain English-speaking societies, but I have only ever heard it when the speaker was being deliberately old-fashioned or humorously melodramatic.

    2) I'll be damned if he shows up at this party.
    It's not clear whether you mean:
    (a) you would be surprised if he shows up.
    or
    (b) you are determined that he doesn't show up.

    If it's (a) then it's normally expressed as an exclamation.
    "Well I'll be damned!… he wasn't even invited but he's just walked in the door".

    If it's (b), where the phrase means a strong rejection of something, then a more likely expression would be: "I'll be damned if I'm going to invite him to the party". Another example: "He wants me to apologize but I'll be damned if I will, his behaviour was much worse than mine".


    not a teacher

  3. #3
    greenisgood is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: be damned

    1) Julie said: Mary made me do something I don't like, Mary be damned.

    Is Julie using "be damned" to indirectly express displeasure towards Mary, without explicitly cursing her?

    Thanks for clarifying the usage of "I'll be damned ...".

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: be damned

    Few people today would think they were casting an actual curse on someone. As JMurray said, anyone using it today would probably be saying it in an overly dramatic manner, mostly in jest.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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