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  1. Senior Member
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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

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #2

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

    Yes.

  3. Senior Member
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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.

  5. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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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.

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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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.

  7. Piscean's Avatar
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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.

  8. Eckaslike's Avatar
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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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