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    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 28
    #1

    Whether he be

    "Whether he be right or wrong, he will have my support."

    Why this sentence uses "be" instead of "is"? Is it wrong to use "is"?





    • Join Date: May 2006
    • Posts: 1,335
    #2

    Re: Whether he be

    Hi,
    Yes, it's correct - the Subjunctive.
    Here's from Jack and the Beanstalk:
    Fee, fie, foe, fum,
    I smell the blood of an Englishman
    Be he 'live or be he dead
    I'll grind his bones to make my bread.

    Regards


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 28
    #3

    Re: Whether he be

    Thank you, but could I also have the answer to my second question?

    If the sentence is changed to "Whether he is right or wrong, he will have my support."
    Is this sentence correct?

  1. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
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      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,038
    #4

    Re: Whether he be

    Quote Originally Posted by mochaichai View Post
    Thank you, but could I also have the answer to my second question?

    If the sentence is changed to "Whether he is right or wrong, he will have my support."
    Is this sentence correct?
    Yes. Some people use the subjunctive to distinguish fact from possibility:

    "Whether he is right or wrong [in this case], he will have my support."
    (He has already done what he has done.)

    But:

    "Whether he be right or wrong [whatever he may do, as long as I live], he will have my support."

    Some people (especially in the UK) don't use it much, except in fixed collocations, like 'Be that as it may...' and in formal contexts.

    Read more about it here: Subjunctive mood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    b

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