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  1. #1
    eipjoo's Avatar
    eipjoo is offline Newbie
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    Default Is this an old expression or still prevalent?

    “Are you not very thankful to have such a fine place to live at?”(Jane Eyre)

    Being familiar with the expression "aren't you […]," it's quite strange to meet this one. Is it the expression used just in the writer's age, or is it still prevalent?

  2. #2
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    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Is this an old expression or still prevalent?

    This form of words is very seldom used these days. It is almost never heard in normal conversation, but is occasionally used when someone [generally a well-read individual] is trying to draw particular attention to something. For example, some years ago, a judge in a British courtroom said of a witness, "Has she not grace? Has she not fragrance?"
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is this an old expression or still prevalent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
    ... some years ago, a judge in a British courtroom said of a witness, "Has she not grace? Has she not fragrance?"
    That [expletive deleted] judge was almost universally mocked for his outdated views. The language he used showed how antediluvian his mindset was.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Is this an old expression or still prevalent?

    I wouldn't have said antediluvian exactly - they didn't think like that before the Flood! I'd have placed his attitudes nearer the time when the tradition of Courtly Love was established.

    This form is still used by self-important people (usually, like that judge, in positions of power). I can remember teachers and priests (often teaching priests) saying things like 'Have you not thought what you're doing to your lungs?'

    b

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Is this an old expression or still prevalent?

    You'll come across it in some regional forms and, mostly, people trying to be rhetorical or serious. In ordinary speech and writing, it is very uncommon.

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