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Thread: So help you God

  1. #1
    GoodTaste is offline Key Member
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    So help you God

    USAToday's video shows Biden's presidential oath ending with "So help you God."

    Usually we know it is "So help me God" which invokes the devine Providence to help the president himself. So I wonder whether "So help you God" means something different.

    ========================
    "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help you God."

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    Source: USAToday Biden's inauguration day ends with a wave and a massive firework show

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Re: So help you God

    The prompter says 'So help you, God'.

    The President says 'So help me, God'.

  3. #3
    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: So help you God

    Note that the presidential oath of office was written into the US Constitution in 1787. The text reads

    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

    Capitalization and punctuation rules were different then.

    In 2008, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts muffed his recital of it. As I recall, President Obama said it correctly instead of repeating Roberts' words. Just to make sure there could be no doubt the new President had been lawfully sworn in, they repeated the oath-taking later in the Oval Office of the White House.
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  4. #4
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    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: So help you God

    Is the prompter really meant to say So help you God? He doesn't have a problem with saying the first person pronoun I, so I can't really see why he can't say me too.

    It feels and sounds a little like a misspeak to me. Is that possible?

  5. #5
    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: So help you God

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Is the prompter really meant to say So help you God? He doesn't have a problem with saying the first person pronoun I, so I can't really see why he can't say me too.

    It feels and sounds a little like a misspeak to me. Is that possible?
    He should have said "me". Roberts isn't great at this.

    He may have been thinking of the way American court bailiffs prompt witnesses: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
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  6. #6
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    Re: So help you God

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    He may have been thinking of the way American court bailiffs prompt witnesses: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
    Yes, great point. I suspect that's it.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: So help you God

    Samuel Beckett said that when people called on God to be a witness, they could call on no worse a witness as He couldn't confirm the facts.

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: So help you God

    He said So help me God with the last president:

    https://youtu.be/_v7GIWtX8us?t=34

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: So help you God

    If he meant So help you God, he is implying that Biden will face trouble. I guess it's simply a slip, Biden said do do, but he has a stammer. Some will claim it is senility, but politics is a warzone nowadays. I see nothing to suggest that he didn't mean to say you.

  10. #10
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    Re: So help you God

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    If he meant So help you God, he is implying that Biden will face trouble.
    Ha, yes, that's what I thought—a Freudian slip. He's thinking "God help you, Joe!"

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