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The formulaic subjunctive.

In a limited number of cases the use of forms expressing unreality has become a matter of tradition and is to be treated as set-phrases as other sentences can’t be built up on their patterns. The present subjunctive is used in certain exclamations to express a wish or hope, very often involving supernatural powers. The commonest formulas and fixed phrases in which we use the subjunctive in everyday language include:

Long live the King!

God save the King!

God be praised!

Success attend you! / May success attend you!

Be yours a happy marriage / meeting !

God bless you!

God forbid / Heaven forbid…

So be it / Be it so…

Come what will / Happen what may…

Be this as it may…

As it were…

As luck would have it / As ill (bad) luck would have it …

Suffice to say that…

Far be it from me to …

May you have a long and happy life!

Long may you live to enjoy it!

Much good may it do you!

Curse …

If need be …

God grant that …

Be it X or be it Y…

Manners be hanged / Grammar be hanged!

Fee, fi, fo, fum,

I smell the blood of an Englishman,

Be he alive or be he dead,

I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.’

Nursery Rhyme

It is sometimes used in poetry, either to express a wish or in clauses of condition or concession:

SHAKESPEARE: If this be error, and upon me proved… ( If this is error…)

1. Translate the word combinations in brackets into English.

1. It has been my conviction for many years that the Russian and the Englishman are, (такби мовити), the complementary parts of a man. 2. I despaired of explaining, and at that moment, (на лихо), Rage’s house was left when Rawdon and his wife returned to London. 3. (Дай Бог) that my suspicion may prove groundless! 4. (Я далекий від думки) to put pressure upon a son of his as regards any profession. 5. Nothing like having an old lady to look after to steady a chap … but, (налихо), Captain Anthony had no mother living. 6. As he was leaving the room he looked back at Sybil Merton’s photograph, and swore that, (хай буде,що буде), he would never let her know what he was doing for her sake. 7. (Боже збав) to leave you alone with that scoundrel. 8. You are as right as can be and (я далекий від думки) to tell you otherwise. 9. He was, (так би мовити), the missing link between the artist and the public. 10. (Хай буде,що буде), I am not going to allow your name get into this case. 11. “(Боже збав),” father said when I told him I wanted to be an actress. 12. And, (на лихо), on this night, father had been drinking too. 13. He was determined to go, (як би те не було), in the late afternoon. 14. Towards the evening the weather turned hazy, with a drizzling rain and soon became so thick, that we sailed, (так би мовити), in a cloud. 15. (Хвала Богу), she was not one of those mothers who threw fits in emergency. 16. (На лихо), no one was hurt. 17. (Я далекий від думки) to marry any woman on account of her money. 18. “(Господи бережи нас) always,” I said, “from the innocent and the good.” 19. (Хай вдача буде з вами) From what I know the trip is going to be long and dangerous.

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