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Re: Be that as it may

Posted by ESC on February 04, 2009 at 13:50

In Reply to: Re: Be that as it may posted by Graham Cambray on February 04, 2009 at 13:01:

: : "Be that as it may". While sitting a meeting someone said this and I thougt, where does this phrase come from?...

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: There was brief discussion back at http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/51/messages/739.html, two years ago.

: I'm not sure there's an easy or useful answer to your question. What we've got here is old-fashioned grammar, sort of fossilised because it's a generally useful form of words. I suppose the use of the subjunctive tense makes this stand out - fairly common once, but hardly heard today. "If I were you ..." is another example of its use, but it really only hangs on it set phrases that people still use because alternative formations tend to be longer and also often sound clumsier (if only because we're not used to them). Someone may be able to find a first recorded usage, but I don't know that an "origin" will be possible. (GC)

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I have a good friend who uses that phrase all the time. To me it sounds dismissive.