Talk:there be

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Wiktionary:Requests for verification - kept[edit]

Kept. See archived discussion of February 2008. 07:01, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Present participle[edit]

There being as present participle? I know it's not used, though. Ferike333 17:10, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it is used, at least formally and by older users, there being no convenient synonyms for it. —Stephen 17:18, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Then, I've added it. Ferike333 10:34, 6 June 2009 (UTC)


"An inversion of be there"? That is certainly the poorest attempt at an etymology for "there be" that I've found so far. No sources quoted either, mainly because there can't be any that is serious enough, reflecting why this article is currently a candidate for deletion. The truth is that there is no proof that is strong enough to support the idea that there be should be in itself an entry. If that were the case, then you'd have to create a separate entry for there exist, there live, there remain, there come, etc., which would only make things needlessly more complex. It is the so-called "existential 'there'", diachronically related to "locative there", what should instead be aimed at as a phenomenon. At least, there are serious studies about it. Wait, there is one "there" entry including "existential there" already. This article is completely redundant!--Quinceps (talk) 06:31, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Here here! Well said. — hippietrail (talk) 08:46, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I posted my opposition to the deletion on the RFD page. --Anatoli (обсудить) 00:19, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

RFD 2012[edit]

Green check.svg

The following information passed a request for deletion.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.

there be[edit]

This passed RFV a few years back – obviously, ‘there is’, ‘there be’ etc all occur. But in my opinion this is a poor way to present it, and the use is already covered explicitly at be, sense 2. I would prefer to see this as a redirect, personally. Ƿidsiþ 07:46, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Keep. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:14, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Keep, even if only as a translation target. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 16:05, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

I confess, I don't really understand the logic of including the dummy subject in the page title. Isn't this just like having a page for it rain? Ƿidsiþ 08:28, 30 April 2012 (UTC) Further: the grammar of this page is extremely badly thought-out. Be here is a finite verb, and when there is the subject, it is always in the third-person, so the only time you actually get "there be" is on the rare occasions when the subjunctive kicks in. It seems to me that it was created under a mistaken thought process like, "we need to have the verb in the infinitive, but it always goes with there, hence there be." But it doesn't make sense. Compare the situation with French, where il y avoir was created under the same mistaken impression (the entry now resides properly at y avoir). Ƿidsiþ 08:33, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

More like it be raining (the hypothetical infinitive of it's raining). —Stephen (Talk) 08:38, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
To the extent that the content is lexical it would seem to belong at [[there]] as at least seem can also be used with this sense of there.
Also, I find it hard to imagine that someone searching for this is actually looking for what we offer rather than a justification for a literary use of the different construction, as exemplified in "There be whales" (from a Star Trek movie) or "Here/there be dragons/monsters" (as in a notation on a map). In such works of fiction, it is used as if it were dialect, possibly nautical, with there being locational, not existential. DCDuring TALK 11:20, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
I think that there is a certain idiomacity to using "there be" to represent a fanciful notion of something magical existing at a certain place. This conversation has prompted me to add the missing entries for the four variations, here be dragons, there be dragons, here be monsters, there be monsters. Cheers! bd2412 T 02:31, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes but that is not what this entry is about. It's purporting to be the main page for such constructions as ‘There is a town in north Ontario’, ‘I wonder if there are any beers left?’ etc. Ƿidsiþ 05:56, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
@bd2412: that's just a snowclone supposedly based on a caption in some very ancient map (added later: see w:Here be dragons). @Ƿidsiþ, I agree: it's a grammatical structure, not a phrase or idiom. IMO, it's better addressed in the entry for there, since, as DCDuring points out, no one is going to be prompted by ‘I wonder if there are any beers left?’ to look up there be. Chuck Entz (talk) 06:50, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
In fact, it is addressed under there#Pronoun, though it seems a bit heavy on grammatical theory- to the point that a layperson might not recognize it. Chuck Entz (talk) 07:04, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
(It is also covered at be, sense 2. Which is where it ought to be, in my view.) Ƿidsiþ 07:32, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. Has anyone bothered to re-read the original archived discussion? Judging by the arguments I see here, the answer is "no". This entry needs to be here. Of course the important entries are the lemmata there is and there are. But you also need a basic lemma form for perfectly modern usages of the infinitive there be with modal verbs (ex. There will be a meeting tonight). You also need a single location translation target. Where else could you point the Spanish hay? -- ALGRIF talk 11:24, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
    I see, so presumably by that reasoning we also need an entry for there was? Hay should point to be, sense 2 of which is this exact sense. Ƿidsiþ 11:32, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
    That exists?! This is so misguided. There was is not "the past-tense form of there be" as it currently says. "There be" is not a fucking infinitive verb form. "There" is a grammatical subject, and "there be" only makes any sense in the subjunctive -- otherwise, it has to be "there was", "there is", "there are", "there will be". In no sense is "there be" an infinitive form. Ƿidsiþ 11:36, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. There must be a basic term to explain there are, there is, there to be, etc. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 06:41, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
    Why on earth would it be at "there be"? Ƿidsiþ 08:13, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Redirect to [[there is]]. —RuakhTALK 14:41, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
    I can live with that solution. Ƿidsiþ 09:28, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
    • This does occur in the infinitive! Just think of "I want there to be lots of food" which is quite clear. 'There' is definitely not a grammatical subject, because if it were, we couldn't have 'there is' next to 'there are'. The verb clearly inflects for whatever follows it. "There be" without 'to' could be a subjunctive: "If there be dragons, we will find them.", just like in the past "If there were dragons, we would have found them." —CodeCat 11:10, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
      • Yes, we discussed all of that in the RFV discussion that Ƿidsiþ linked to. —RuakhTALK 11:35, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Redirect to there is, or delete. As Widsith says, this is like having an entry for it rain. Equinox 15:17, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Redirect to there is, or delete. I agree with all the analyses of the others who think it shouldn't be here. I've always found this entry to be one of the silly embarassments in Wiktionary. — hippietrail (talk) 08:53, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong keep! The definition and etymology may need rewriting but I don't think the article redundant. This usage of "there" is particularly interesting and important for learners and linguists. I can see it only used in Germanic languages, eg. cf. German dasein (post-reform spelling: da sein) (verb)/ Dasein (noun) = da + sein (there be). It's definitely used in infinitive. --Anatoli (обсудить) 00:19, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. Sometimes it is the subjunctive, but it is also the infinitive. For instance, as let governs the infinitive, then "let him come", "let them eat cake", "let there be light." —Stephen (Talk) 01:52, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
  • Delete or move to Wikipedia or Wikigrammar. To the extent we are not just a translators' cheatsheet or exercise book, this is covered at [[there]] and [[be]]. DCDuring TALK 07:32, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
    How is this even a verb? It looks like a non-constituent grammatically. DCDuring TALK 07:37, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
    What is Wikigrammar? —Angr 14:25, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
    A project even more fitful than Phrasebook. We have isolated components in Appendix and Wiktionary space. DCDuring TALK 15:59, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Delete or leave as a stub pointing to **there is**. — hippietrail (talk) 15:19, 29 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Delete. Note that you you can use verbs other than to be with this construct: Once upon a time, there lived a an old man. or And there goes our ticket outta here... --WikiTiki89 (talk) 20:05, 30 September 2012 (UTC)
Delete per Widsith and DCDuring. - -sche (discuss) 02:48, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Eight users have voted "delete/redirect": Widsith, Chuck Entz, Ruakh, Equinox, Hippietrail (who seems to have voted twice), DCDuring, Wikitiki89, and me. Six users have voted "keep": Mglovesfun, Ungoliant, Algrif, TAKASUGI Shinji, Atitarev, Stephen G. Brown. I couldn't tell if bd2412 and CodeCat were taking a position, as neither voted. - -sche (discuss) 02:48, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, my comment was somewhat obscure. I would delete the current existential sense, but I would have added a sense for the old-timey sounding use found in phrases like "there be dragons" and "there be monsters". Cheers! bd2412 T 02:06, 17 December 2012 (UTC)


With bd's position clarified, the tally is 9 users (60%) for deletion/redirection (discounting Hippietrail's second vote), 6 users for keeping. - -sche (discuss) 00:50, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
Delete/redirect. Also, you appear not to have counted Chuck Entz's comment. He says that he agrees with Widsith, which in context appears a delete vote, but I hope he'll clarify his position so we can be sure. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:59, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
I thought my opinion was obvious from what I was saying: the entry is nonsense. Delete it. Chuck Entz (talk) 03:22, 27 February 2013 (UTC)
Weak keep for the translations, which may not be at all obvious. Dutch in particular as a rather collection of possible translations, because it has many verbs to denote existence in a place. On the other hand, these can be transparently derived in Dutch from the translation of "there" plus any of the existence verbs. I oppose moving it to there is as there is nowhere else for it to go. Moving it doesn't solve the problem, because that just leaves the question "what if I need the infinitive?". And since we already use the infinitive as the lemma for all verbs that have one (a few auxiliary verbs like can don't), I see no reason for this to be an exception. —CodeCat 03:30, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

On the one hand, there be is in fact an awkward expression which isn't very commonly used, on the other hand, it doesn't make sense to delete only the infinitive and keep there is, there are and brethren. Another point is that this entry is useful as a translation target, because this very expression is written quite differently across the languages of the world, and our entries on there and be unfortunately don't give any help in that. As such, I actually lean towards keeping this, and changing there is and there are to simple form-of entries that link back to there be. -- Liliana 15:13, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Kept for no consensus.--Jusjih (talk) 09:46, 30 April 2013 (UTC)