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    #1

    If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    Dear all,

    "If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you tickle me, do I not laugh? Of course I do."

    I happened to see this sentence in in an article written by a modern scientist. In modrn English, I understand "If you prick me, don't I bleed?" is correct. Is it because the writer used this as a quote from "the Merchant of Venice" that he used the old-fashined form?

    Thank you!

    OP

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    Yes.

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    #3

    Re: If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    Dear all,

    May I aske one more thing?

    Do many British people know it's a quote from Shakespeare?

    Thank you!

    OP

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    #4

    Re: If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    Probably not.

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    #5

    Re: If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    In modern English, I understand "If you prick me, don't I bleed?" is correct
    The do I not bleed form is less common, but is still used and perfectly correct, at least in BrE. You will hear it used outside the world of Shakespeare quotes.

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    #6

    Re: If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Do many British people know it's a quote from Shakespeare?
    It really depends on what you mean by many. A lot will recognise it as a quote, but I guess that they would be a sizeable minority of the overall population. Many of his quotes have become a standard part of the language and have ceased to be recognised as quotes.

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    #7

    Re: If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Many of his quotes have become a standard part of the language and have ceased to be recognised as quotes.
    That is a truth universally acknowledged.

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    #8

    Re: If you prick us, do we not bleed?

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    "If you prick me, do I not bleed?"

    "If you prick me, don't I bleed?"
    Even though they mean the same thing, I find that the one in old-fashioned English conveys that meaning in a far more powerful way because of the fact that "do" and "not" are used as separate words.

    In a similar fashion to the following:

    "Don't do that!" (Which is almost a throw-away line someone might say if mildly irritated.)

    versus

    "Do not do that!" (Which someone might say if they were extremely annoyed.)

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