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    #1

    Somebody help/helps me

    I've read an article just now, I'm confused with it.

    someONE has eaten my cake.

    I guess..Somebody help me please is the correct sentence.(I'm request for a help). If helps, it'd be like, someone helps me to finish my homework. (someone has helped me to finish my homework)

    Am I right? Or it has nothing to do with my explanation ?

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    #2

    Re: Somebody help/helps me

    You need a whole bunch of punctuation to make any sense of what you are trying to say.

    It's not "somebody" or "someone" which makes the difference. It's how you are using the word.

    "Somebody, help me!" is a command. You are addressing "somebody" just like I could say "Bob, help me." "Bob" or "somebody" or "someone" is not the subject of the sentence. An unwritten, unsaid, understood "you" is the subject. The command is "(You) help me."

    So, the conjugation of "help" matches the second person "you." You help.

    It does not matter if you address the command to "someone" or "somebody."

    In the other case "Someone helps me to finish my homework" the word "someone" is the subject of the sentence. Someone helps.

    Since "someone" is third person singular, you use that form of the verb. Someone helps.

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    #3

    Re: Somebody help/helps me

    I have seen suggestions that

    Somebody help me!

    is actually a third-person imperative sentence. I will try to find them.

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    #4

    Re: Somebody help/helps me

    "I insist that somebody help me" would be the subjunctive. I think that's a plausible explanation here.

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    #5

    Re: Somebody help/helps me

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    "I insist that somebody help me" would be the subjunctive. I think that's a plausible explanation here.
    I agree, though I think that your suggestion in post #2 is also plausible, as is, perhaps, "(Will/Can) somebody help me".

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    #6

    Re: Somebody help/helps me

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    I have seen suggestions that

    Somebody help me!

    is actually a third-person imperative sentence. I will try to find them.
    Link

    Added: And another one.

    An interesting point can be found in that thread:

    There is another reason why I think that such phrases should be analysed as subjunctives rather than imperatives: the pronoun "you" can be used in subjunctives with third-person subjects in a way that it cannot be in third-person imperatives. E.g. we can say:
    God bless you.
    but not:
    *Everyone help you. (intended as a plea for help for the particular person I am addressing)
    .. because in a third-person imperative the second person apparently takes on the same signification as the third person. E.g. we can equally well say:
    Everyone switch his (or their) phone off.
    Everyone switch your phone off.
    (In both cases here I take "everyone" as a subject, not a vocative.)
    You have suggested an interesting possible criterion for identifying 3rd person imperatives in English: "in a third-person imperative the second person apparently takes on the same signification as the third person". In other words, in a 3rd person imperative, 2nd person pronouns can be used to refer to the 3rd person subject (Everyonei switch youri phone off). I would point out the following:

    • I don't believe this is possible in Greek.
    • This excludes non-personal subjects (since they cannot normally be addressed as "you/thou") and subjects that contain possessive your/thy (since they cannot normally be co-referent with "you/thou").
    • Even within the set of possible subjects, the English construction seems to be restricted to indefinite pronominal subjects (everyone, no one, someone, [not] anyone, etc.), at least for me. I don't accept Every soldieri kill youri prisoners (but maybe Shakespeare would have).


    If we choose such a narrow definition of 3rd person imperatives in English (and call everything else a subjunctive), then yes, 3rd person imperatives probably appeared rather recently in English, and they are very unlike Greek 3rd person imperatives.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 26-Jun-2012 at 16:31.

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    #7

    Re: Somebody help/helps me

    Interesting. I shall have to give that more time.

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    #8

    Re: Somebody help/helps me

    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello, Birdeen's Call:

    I was wondering whether this information from the world's greatest grammarian* (IMHO) might be helpful:

    "The old simple subjunctive is, in general, now little used in decided expressions of will - the volitive subjunctive."


    Third person

    Suffice it to say ...
    Perish the colonies rather than a principle.
    Be this purse an earnest of my thanks.


    "It is most common with a subject of indefinite meaning:

    'Everyone stand up!'
    'Please forgive me everybody.'

    First person

    "The first person plural of the old simple subjunctive is now possible only in poetry. 'Part we friendship from your land.'
    Now expressed by the new let-form:
    'Let us part!' "

    *****

    * I am referring to, of course, Professor GEORGE OLIVER CURME. Volume II of his masterpiece A Grammar of the English Language (1931), page 394.

    *****

    ONLY MY IDEA: And, of course (I think!), when a bad guy enters a bank and yells, "Nobody move!" I assume that the bad guy would not be aware of the fact that he was using the subjunctive.

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