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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 27th, 2011, 06:45 am
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Default Long live the king! - structure?

"Long live the king!"

Is this imperative?
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Unread Apr 27th, 2011, 11:20 am
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Default Re: Long live the king! - structure?

It's usually seen as a sort of parallel form to "May the king live long!" or "Let the king live long!" and traditional grammar often explained it as "subjunctive" - which of course would be true in other languages but has no validity as a separate linguistic form in English. (But then neither does the term imperative and we go on using it ) It's also found in expressions like :
Come what may...
God save the Queen!
Heaven forbid that...
Be that as it may...
So be it then!
Suffice it to say that...


It is a sort of "imperative" - in both cases the base form of the verb is used to express what the speaker wants to happen. Which for me, points to the real explanation : that the base form of the verb is used to express strong volition imposed by the speaker - ie a desire that something currently unrealised becomes true (the dog is not yet sitting but I want him to, so I say Sit! / I want you to be content with the general picture so I say Suffice it to say! Notice how all the non-command examples are formulaic, set phrases though - it's very limited in its occurrence.
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Unread May 2nd, 2011, 07:21 am
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Default Re: Long live the king! - structure?

Thanks, Sue! I was told it was subjunctive and I just couldn't see how. It seems more like a command, but I was stumped.

Could we say the same for a cheer, like "Go Madrid!"
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Unread May 2nd, 2011, 07:52 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Long live the king! - structure?

I'd say "Go, Madrid!" is definitely an imperative... it's the equivalent of "Win, Madrid!" - a definite command rather than a wish. Or no?
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