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  1. #1
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default English expressions (2)

    Good morning everyone,

    1) Do we say "the acting OR actors community"?

    2) Does the expression exist ?? "story exchanged between people's tongue" (it seems rather strange to me)

    3) Sould I use a subjonctive (or modal verb) after "to be afraid that"?
    He is/was afraid that the body be removed ?

    All the best,
    Hela
    Last edited by hela; 05-Dec-2007 at 06:35.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)

    (i) the acting community

    (2) never heard of it - sounds like something from Old Englsih, as in Shakespeare

    (3) He is afraid (that) the body will be removed
    He was afraid (that) the body would be removed
    In casual speech, the 'that' is often omitted.

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    (i) the acting community

    (2) never heard of it - sounds like something from Old Englsih, as in Shakespeare
    Same here, though it may ring a faint bell. Shakespeare or Chaucer or Milton perhaps?
    (3) He is afraid (that) the body will be removed
    He was afraid (that) the body would be removed
    In casual speech, the 'that' is often omitted.
    Other possibilities:
    He is afraid that the body may be removed.
    or (a bit old-fashioned/formal)
    He is afraid lest the body be removed.

    Often, feeling that the subjunctive sounds a bit over-formal*, people use a plain modal: 'He is afraid someone might remove the body.'

    b
    PS *The subjunctive is more common in Am E. In Br E some people still insist on it, but they tend to be a prescriptivist () few - although there are lots of fossils, such as 'Be that as it may'...

  4. #4
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)

    Hello Bob,

    Other possibilities:
    He is afraid that the body may be removed.
    or (a bit old-fashioned/formal)
    He is afraid lest the body be removed.
    and in the past we would have:
    He was afraid that the body might be removed
    He was afraid lest the body be removed ?

    All the best

  5. #5
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)

    Hello Hela, how are you?

    Quote Originally Posted by hela View Post

    2) Does the expression exist ?? "story exchanged between people's tongue"
    Could it be a translation, in the context in which you found it?

    If so, it might be an elaborate version of "gossip", "rumour", etc.

    Or perhaps it relates to the phrase "word of mouth", as in "a word of mouth recommendation".

    All the best,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)



    b

  7. #7
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)

    One more question please:

    If in the present we have :
    He IS scared lest the corpse BE removed

    what should we have in the past?
    He WAS scared lest the corpse WERE removed?

    Thanks again for your help
    Hela

  8. #8
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)

    Hello Hela,

    To my mind, it isn't idiomatic to backshift a present subjunctive. So I would stick to the present subjunctive (and perhaps change "scared", as it sits a little oddly with "lest" + subj.):

    1. He was afraid lest the body (should) be removed.

    Other members may disagree, however; subjunctive usage is by no means consistent, among native speakers (or between dialects).

    Have a pleasant Thursday,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post
    Hello Hela,

    To my mind, it isn't idiomatic to backshift a present subjunctive. So I would stick to the present subjunctive (and perhaps change "scared", as it sits a little oddly with "lest" + subj.):

    1. He was afraid lest the body (should) be removed.

    Other members may disagree, however; subjunctive usage is by no means consistent, among native speakers (or between dialects).

    ...
    I usually use a modal, like 'should' as above, or 'might'. But I agree 'in spades' [=wholeheartedly] with the last point.

    b

  10. #10
    hela is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: English expressions (2)

    Thanks to both of you Have a nice weekend.

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