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    #1

    woe be us

    Here's an excerpt from an article:

    The Raptorsí woe-be-us act is wearing thinner than a non-displaced facial fracture.

    I'm familiar with the expression "woe is me," but I don't understand why the author wrote "woe be us" instead of "woe is us."

    Thanks.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: woe be us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    Here's an excerpt from an article:

    The Raptorsí woe-be-us act is wearing thinner than a non-displaced facial fracture.

    I'm familiar with the expression "woe is me," but I don't understand why the author wrote "woe be us" instead of "woe is us."

    Thanks.
    I can't explain this one either! Surely the 2nd pers plural of "woe is me" should be "woe are we"?! Though of course "woe is me" is very odd from a grammatical sense. "Woe am I" would make more sense.

    Oh, the English language! Gotta love it.

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    #3

    Re: woe be us

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I can't explain this one either! Surely the 2nd pers plural of "woe is me" should be "woe are we"?! Though of course "woe is me" is very odd from a grammatical sense. "Woe am I" would make more sense.

    Oh, the English language! Gotta love it.
    Why would "woe are we" be correct? "Woe" is a singular subject, and "woe is us" should therefore be correct. No?

    It's acceptabe to say "woe is me" instead of "woe is I"; in fact, I don't think the latter even exists (see The Grammarphobia Blog Blog Archive Woes by any other name).

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    #4

    Re: woe be us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    Why would "woe are we" be correct? "Woe" is a singular subject, and "woe is us" should therefore be correct. No?

    It's acceptabe to say "woe is me" instead of "woe is I"; in fact, I don't think the latter even exists (see The Grammarphobia Blog Blog Archive Woes by any other name).
    Well, I based my suggestion on the fact that I had always thought that "Woe is me" was a very badly worded version of "I am woe", even though woe is not an adjective. Based on that supposition, "I am woe" would become "We are woe". I thought that the verb was attached to "me", not to "woe".

    However, a little research revealed that the original phrase (in the Bible) was apparently "Woe unto me", meaning that the person speaking thought that they deserved to be sent sorrow.

    I'm not sure that makes anything about the original question any clearer, sorry!

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    #5

    Re: woe be us

    Hello Emsr...,
    The Raptors’ woe-be-us act is wearing thinner than a non-displaced facial fracture. It's a beautiful expression and an example of old fashioned poetic licence. Instead of using befall or betide they've inserted the subjunctive 'be' in other words Woe be to you or Woe to you if you catch this act i.e be warned that if you go and see this act that's not very effective any more, .....

    Woe is me is correct but refers to an already existing condition whereas woe be me or woe be us is used like a conditional sentence. In fact, it is a sort of conditional.

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    #6

    Re: woe be us

    Quote Originally Posted by bds51 View Post
    Hello Emsr...,
    The Raptorsí woe-be-us act is wearing thinner than a non-displaced facial fracture. It's a beautiful expression and an example of old fashioned poetic licence. Instead of using befall or betide they've inserted the subjunctive 'be' in other words Woe be to you or Woe to you if you catch this act i.e be warned that if you go and see this act that's not very effective any more, .....

    Woe is me is correct but refers to an already existing condition whereas woe be me or woe be us is used like a conditional sentence. In fact, it is a sort of conditional.
    Ah, interesting. When I first saw it, I thought of "woe betide us" but I didn't think it had the same meaning.

    To me, "Woe is me" (commonly followed by "alas and alack"!), as an exclamation of sorrow, isn't the same concept as "Woe betide he who pokes a crocodile with a big stick" (he does it at his own risk).

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    #7

    Re: woe be us

    I think the writer is just trying to be clever in making a plural use of "woe is me." I wouldn't read too much into it. It's sportswriting.

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    #8

    Re: woe be us

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    Here's an excerpt from an article:

    The Raptorsí woe-be-us act is wearing thinner than a non-displaced facial fracture.

    I'm familiar with the expression "woe is me," but I don't understand why the author wrote "woe be us" instead of "woe is us."

    Thanks.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon, Jasmin.

    (1) The other posters have already given us wonderful answers.

    (2) I thought you would like some extra information about "woe."

    (3) The eminent American grammarian George O. Curme explained it this way:

    In Shakespeare's "Woe is me," "woe" was felt as a noun, subject of the verb, JUST AS WE NOW INTERPRET IT.

    The professor explains that BEFORE Shakespeare, the sentence was:

    Me is (it) woe

    a) "woe" was an ADVERB.
    b) it governed the dative "me." (I think "dative" = "to me.")
    c)"is" was impersonal.
    d) "it," the subject, was always suppressed (was never said).

    In other words, the idea was something like: It is to me woe.

    Please excuse me if I gave more information than you wanted.

    Have a nice day!

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